BURTON, Ohio – One of the oldest traditions in Ohio’s maple industry has been the exhibiting of maple products at the Ohio State Fair.
Every year maple producers from across the state send samples of their best maple syrup and maple confections to be exhibited and judged at Ohio’s premier agricultural show.
Centerpieces. In the late 1980s the Ohio Maple Producers Association took over the handling of the entries and showcased them as the centerpiece of an educational display that informed fairgoers about the production of maple syrup in Ohio.
Now under the direction of Dave Patterson, a maple producer from Geauga County, the competition has evolved into the John Berry Midsummer Maple Products Contest.
In honor of. The contest is named in honor of the late John Berry from Athens County.
Berry was a maple producer and Ohio Maple Producers Association director who dedicated many hours of his time each year organizing and setting up the Ohio State Fair display.
Judging. The judging is done prior to the fair at different locations across the state. This affords producers from different regions of the state a greater opportunity to become more involved in the contest.
The 2004 contest was judged July 28 in Ohio Maple Producers Association District 5 at the Patterson Center in Geauga County.
This year’s official judge was James Miller, maple producer from Middlefield, Ohio.
There were 39 entries in the maple syrup category which includes three grades of maple syrup, (light, medium and dark amber) and 18 entries in the maple products.
Annually trophies are given for the best overall maple syrup winner (most points in all three maple syrup grade categories), for the best small sugarmaker (less than 250 taps) and best new sugarmaker (in production, 5 years or less).
Award winners. The best overall maple syrup award is given in honor of association founding president Hilton Farley.
This year’s Hilton Farley Award recipient was The Geauga County Park District.
Best Small Sugarmaker was Rick Payne also from Geauga County and New Sugarmaker was Mike Roberts representing Camp Tuscazoar.
Individual results. Individual winners, by class, were:
Light Amber Maple Syrup: 1. Nancy Kothera/Rhode Sisters; 2. Geauga Park District.
Medium Amber Maple Syrup: 1. Geauga Park District, 2. James Freeman, FMF Sugarbush.
Dark Amber Maple Syrup: 1. Rick Payne, Rick’s Pure Maple Syrup; 2. Laura Berry, Sticky Pete’s Maple Syrup.
Maple Candy 12 Pieces: 1. Kate Brown, Bonhomie Acres. One-pound Maple Brick: 1. Aggie Sojka. One-pound Maple Cream Swirl: 1. Aggie Sojka.
Half-Pint Stirred Sugar: 1. Aggie Sojka. Half-Pint Maple Spread: 1. Galen Smith. Maple Novelty: 1. Aggie Sojka.
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