Ohio syrup schools get into sweet stuff

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COLUMBUS – Three educational meetings are on tap in January for northern Ohio maple producers, and what sticks, ideally, will be knowledge, not sap.

Sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, the meetings offer production and industry updates.

When and where. Meeting dates and locations include:

* Jan. 22, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Morrow County Maple Syrup Program, at the Lutheran Memorial Camp on state Route 61 south of Fulton, Ohio.

* Jan. 23, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Wayne/Holmes Maple Institute, at Mennonite Christian Assembly Church, 10664 Fryburg Road, south of Fredericksburg, Ohio.

* Jan. 24, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Geauga County Institute of Maple and Maple Syrup Production, at The West Woods, Geauga County Park District, 9465 Kinsman Road, Russell Township.

A free preview session takes place from 5-9 p.m. Jan. 23.

Small or large. Anyone who produces maple products or wants to get started will find the meetings beneficial, said Gary Graham, a Ohio State natural resources specialist.

“We have part-time backyard producers with 50 taps, to large producers with over 5,000 taps attending these meetings,” Graham said.

“Not only are the educational sessions helpful, but so are the conversations with fellow maple producers about how to do something better or hints on what works best,” Graham added.

Featured speaker. At all three events, Kevin Schambach of Schambach Maple, New York, will demonstrate tubing techniques and the do’s and don’ts of good tubing work.

Graham explained that many producers use a tubing system, rather than buckets, due to its efficiency and its reduced impact on the forest.

Other speakers include Jim Cermak of Sugarbush Creek Farm, who will discuss vacuum systems; Doug Fitch, Fitch Pharm Farm; and Randy Heiligmann, state forestry specialist, OSU Extension, who will outline voluntary inspection standards and voluntary product-sampling standards.

Graham will present a session on liability.

Registration. Registration for any of the three meetings is $20 per person before Jan. 9 and $30 after Jan. 9 or at the door. The registration fee includes lunch.

To register, call the north district office of OSU Extension at 330-263-3831.

Registration also can be made by sending your name, address, registration fee and the name of the meeting you wish to attend to: OSU Extension, North District, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691, Attn: Lisa.

Make checks payable to OSU Extension, North District.

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