Ohio Maple Days on tap January 18-20

Dec. 21, 2017
Buckets for collection on sugar maple trees

2018’s Ohio Maple Days will be on Jan. 18 in Morrow County, on Jan. 19 in Wayne and Holmes counties, and on Jan. 20 in Geauga County.

The annual program, the same at each location, will feature educational sessions on maple production. It’s timed to help producers prepare for the coming season, which in Ohio may run from January through mid-March, depending on the weather. Both hobby and commercial producers are welcome.

The event’s sponsor is CFAES’s Ohio Maple Program.

The locations for the event will be:

  • Jan. 18 in Morrow County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lutheran Memorial Camp, 2790 State Route 61, Fulton, OH 43321.
  • Jan. 19 in Wayne and Holmes counties, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mennonite Christian Assembly Church, 10664 Fryburg Road, Fredericksburg, OH 44627.
  • Jan. 20 in Geauga County, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Huntsburg Community Center, 12396 Madison Road, Middlefield, OH 44062. This is a new location from previous years.

The sessions at the event will include:

  • “The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Ohio Department of Agriculture Updates”: The FSMA contains a mandatory requirement for many food manufacturers, including maple syrup producers, to register their operation, said Gary Graham, Ohio Maple Program coordinator and the event’s organizer. “There have been many changes in the past few years, and there are even more changes to take place in the next year or two,” he said. “Every maple producer, no matter the size of their operation, needs to hear what is happening, as their future as maple producers depends on it.”
  • “Maple Marketing Is More Than Filling a Jug.” To get the highest return for your maple syrup, “just putting your syrup in a jug isn’t enough,” Graham said. “Once in the jug, you have to market it by making the connection from the syrup within the jug to you, the producer. Building the story of how it’s made and who is making it are all critical for consumers to become invested in you and your products.”
  • “Tubing Help for Any Size Operation”: Graham said tubing has done more to revolutionize the maple industry and create growth than any other piece of equipment. “Tubing has made the collection process easier on the maple producer and on the sugarbush due to less time spent in the woods with heavy equipment,” he said. It’s also easily adapted to any size operation. The session will look at the latest technology and will offer helpful hints.
  • “Sugarbush/Woodland Management Tips That Pay”: The session will focus on using crown touching release and other crop tree management concepts to improve the health and productivity of a sugarbush. “Your woodlands are a valuable resource,” Graham said. “A professional forester can help you develop a woodland management plan to increase the benefits you receive.”

The event’s featured speakers will be:

  • Tom McCrumm, Ashfield, Massachusetts, who owns a 5,000-tap operation and 30-year sugaring season restaurant and is the developer of diverse product marketing practices.
  • Dan Milo, food safety supervisor, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety, who has been working with the federal rulings under the FSMA and also is a hobby maple producer.
  • David Apsley, an Ohio State University Extension natural resources specialist who has more than 30 years of forest management experience. OSU Extension is CFAES’s outreach arm.

Graham, who is the OSU Extension specialist for Ohio’s maple syrup industry, also will speak on the program.

There will be a trade show; reports from OSU Extension and the Ohio Maple Producers Association; free testing of hydrometers, refractometers and Vermont Temporary Maple Syrup Grading Kits (bring them to the event); and a session called “Maple Nuggets” for sharing questions, ideas and information.

Save by preregistering, and also get lunch

Preregistration costs $35; includes lunch, refreshments and handouts; and is due by Jan. 12. Preregistration is required to receive lunch. Registration at the door is $40 and may not include lunch.

To preregister, send your name, contact information, the date you’ll be attending, and check or money order (made payable to OSU Extension) to OSU Extension, Holmes County, 75 E. Clinton St., Suite 109, Millersburg, OH 44654.

For more information, go to holmes.osu.edu/ohiomapledays, where there’s a link to the event brochure and a registration form, or call Ashley Gerber at 330-674-3015.