The Franklin County Maple (Producers) Association, in cooperation with Brushton Moira Central School Future Farmers of America and Cornell Cooperative Extension, has been busily organizing its second annual Franklin County Maple School. The all-day event will be held at BMCS on the Gale Road (County Route 7 just south of US Route 11) in Brushton on Feb. 1, 2014. The event will offer a wide range of informational and hands-on classes and workshops that will most certainly be of interest to seasoned maple syrup producers, less experienced sugar makers, and anyone interested in learning the ins and outs of making maple syrup or managing a sugarbush.
The Maple School provides an opportunity for anyone involved in or considering becoming involved in maple sugaring to learn about or brush up on
-cutting edge sugarbush management and maple syrup production technologies
-state-of-the-art sugaring and sugar production related equipment, machinery and tools and how to use them and
-universally accepted methods for collecting sap and making high-quality maple syrup and value-added maple sugar products.
It's also a chance to expand your understanding of large production and small farm sugaring operations and how these family run businesses produce hundreds of gallons of quality maple syrup of exceptional flavor every year.
A noteworthy and wide-ranging variety of informational and educational classes are being featured:
-Getting Started in Your Maple Operation
-New York State Maple
-Pricing for Profitability
-Marketing, Regulations, and Food Processing
-Using Social Media to Promote Your Maple Business
-25 Ways to Develop a More Profitable Sugaring Operation
-Filtering and Canning
-Sugarbush Management: Thinning Your Forest
-Sugarbush Management: Managing Beech
-Forest Management Plans: How to Get the Most out of Maple Stands and Reduce Taxes
-Forest Management: Generating Income from Your Woodlot Other than Maple
-Confections: Making Cream and Candy
-Confections: Making Maple Coated Popcorn
-Stainless Steel Welding.
Presenters include specialists from Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District professionals, maple syrup producers who take great pride in making only the highest quality maple products, and industry consultants.
This is a truly diverse group of folks. All of them bring their insights, their knowledge, their experience, and their expertise to the event. And all of them will be available to answer questions and address concerns.
The comprehensive variety of classes that have been scheduled as part of the February 1st event are intended to meet the requirements of just about anyone interested in maple. Whether you're a large-scale producer who sells to wholesale markets, a small sugar maker who sells direct from your home or at the farmers' markets, a backyard or would-be home maple syrup maker, or just a curious consumer, the second annual FCMA Maple School will have something to offer you.
While you're there, you can also attend the trade show, which will showcase equipment and supplies. Several makers of maple products will have their wares displayed for sale, too. In addition, representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, New York Forest Owners Association and the Wild Center will oversee tables with handouts and be available to answer questions and speak with you throughout the day. And while you're at it, please support the artisans and craftspeople who will be on hand displaying their skills and their handiwork. And take a little time to look over the variety of items being offered by the flea market vendors who will be selling their goods, as well.
If you would like to attend the Maple School, participate as a vendor, or sell maple sugaring or related equipment through the auction, you can find registration forms online at the BMCS FFA website (www.bmcsd.org/ffa/index.html). The cost to attend, which includes lunch, is $20 if you register in advance or $25 at the door. Vendor table space is $10 if you bring your own table or $20 if you would like the FFA to provide a table for you. Lunch is extra. The fee for selling equipment at the auction is 10 percent of the sale price charged to the seller. Other terms and conditions apply.
We live in one of comparatively few places in the world where maple sugar production is even possible. And worldwide demand for maple syrup and other maple products continues to grow. A maple school, like this one, represents an exceptional opportunity to learn (or learn more) about maple syrup production from the trees to the table, about the sustainable forestry practices that make it possible, and much more.
If you are a New York forest owner with a suitable site, growing sugar maples and managing your stand for sugar production can maximize the productive use of your forest natural resources and allow you to leave a healthy, productive forest, a lasting resource, and a working agribusiness to your heirs.
Plan to attend.