Although we associate maple syrup production with the cold winter days of early spring, a great deal of education and planning takes place in the fall.
On October 21st, CCE Delaware hosted a beginning maple syrup production workshop that was sponsored by the Watershed Agriculture Council. The workshop was led by Stephen Childs, the New York State Maple Specialist at Cornell University. He covered a variety of aspects of maple syrup production including: why make maple syrup, tree identification, tree health, tapping, sap collection and handling, boiling, energy efficiency, finishing and grading syrup, canning, marketing and regulations. Participants included hobbyists who had already tapped a few trees and wanted to improve quality/efficiency and landowners looking to try making syrup for the first time.
After a very informative classroom session, we visited Brookside Maple and Farm, a nearby operation that has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. Brothers Matt and Micah Scobie started making syrup as as kids, and continued to add taps and increase production during their school years. Now that they have graduated and have full-time jobs, they have actually scaled up, but are using technology to make the process more efficient. They are using reverse osmosis to concentrate the sap prior to boiling (saves time + energy) and have invested in a large-scale oil fired evaporator.
Delaware County Maple Producers are a very knowledgeable, helpful group willing to share ideas, advice and resources. Several members met here at the CCE office in Hamden on September 26th, and plan to meet again on November 16th at 7 p.m. Christine Reimer from Mountain Lady Maple will discuss organic maple production, her novel packaging, and bar codes. For more information, call the office at 607-865-6531 or email [email protected] .