What will Ohio’s recent weather — wet last year, warmish this winter — mean for the coming maple syrup season?
It’s one of the topics at this year’s Ohio Maple Days program, an educational event for syrup producers set for three dates in three Ohio locations: Jan. 17 in Fulton, Jan. 18 in Fredericksburg, and Jan. 19 in Middlefield. The program will be the same at all three locations.
Last year, Ohio ranked eighth nationally in maple syrup production, with a reported yield of 90,000 gallons, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Weather effects, new maple science
Featured speaker Tim Perkins, director of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, will discuss what Ohio’s soggy 2018 and un-winter-like winter so far could mean to this year’s sap yields — for good or for bad. Ohio had its third-wettest year ever last year, capped by an especially rainy fall.
Perkins also will share the center’s long-term research findings on spout and tubing sanitation, including the sanitation’s effects on sap yields and net profit, and how producers can calculate its benefits. Those findings show that the economic benefits of improving sanitation outweigh the costs, according to Gary Graham, Ohio Maple Days organizer.
“Sanitation plays a key role in maple production,” says Graham, who leads the Maple Syrup Proramat Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Otherwise, “all mold and bacteria need to grow is moisture and food, both of which are in maple sap and syrup.”
New food safety regulations
Another featured speaker, Dan Milo, will explain new portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act set to be implemented this year that affect producers of maple syrup. Milo is food safety supervisor with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety and is a hobby syrup producer himself.
Graham will present a session called “Maple Nuggets,” during which he’ll share additional news and updates and answer producers’ questions.
There will be a trade show at each location; reports by the Ohio Maple Producers Association and by Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of CFAES; and free testing of hydrometers, refractometers and Vermont Temporary Maple Syrup Grading Kits that attendees are invited to bring.
3 dates, 3 locations
• The Jan. 17 event will be at Lutheran Memorial Camp, 2790 State Route 61, Fulton.
• On Jan. 18, the program takes place at the Mennonite Christian Assembly Church, 10664 Fryburg Road, Fredericksburg.
• The Jan. 19 event is set for the Huntsburg Community Center, 12396 Madison Road, Middlefield, which is a new location from previous years.
The hours for the three events are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
How to register
Attendees can preregister by mail through Jan. 11, which costs $35 and includes lunch; preregister by phone after Jan. 11, which costs $35 and includes lunch; or register at the door, which costs $40 but doesn’t guarantee lunch.
For details, including how to register, visit the Ohio Maple Days website or call Ashley Gerber at 330-674-3015.
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