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Lake Erie Maple Expo Workshop and Seminar Agenda

Lake Erie Maple Expo Workshops

Friday, November 10, 2017

9 am to 2 pm

 

Note: All workshops meet at 9 a.m. at the location listed next to the workshop.

Cost of each workshop is $25 per person. Lunch is included

Pre-register for the workshop you plan to attend.

Please go directly to the location listed next to each workshop.

 

Boiling Demo by Leader Evaporator

Presenter: Kevin Lawyer

Location: Herrick Hill Farms, 26186 Hwy. 6 & 19, Cambridge Springs, PA 16403

 

 

A Woods Walk and Talk with Glenn Goodrich,–Visit two local sugarbushes for a woods walk with questions, answers and comments about the best tubing practices.

Presenter: Glen Goodrich—Goodrich Maple

Location:  Meet in the parking lot of Northwestern High School, 200 Harthan Way, Albion, PA

At the high school turn south at the first driveway and drive to the rear of the school to the Ag Shop.

 

How to Build Your Own RO,–A Look at RO systems and ideas on how to build a hobby size RO machine.

Presenter: Steve Childs (Cornell University)

Location: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 80 Third Ave., Albion, PA (next to Northwestern High School)

 

Beginner’s Backyard Sugaring,–Learn what is needed to make Pure Maple Syrup in your own backyard. Topics include: identifying maple trees; tapping a tree; why sap flows; gathering and storing the sap; boiling the sap; getting proper density; filtering syrup; grading; tasting; canning and storage of your finished products. Handouts included

Presenter: Laura Dengler–How Sweet It Is & Mark Lewis

Location: Triple Creek Maple, 9225 Fillinger Road, Cranesville, PA—East of Albion on 6N. From 6N go north onto State Rd.  Continue to Fillinger Rd.  (Unpaved roads)

 

Confections: Value Added Products,–We plan to show you some of the maple value added products you can make in your home kitchen or with commercial machines. We will also discuss tips and tricks to make your operation more efficient.  Some of the products included will be molded candy, granular sugar, maple cream, hard candy, maple coated peanuts and more.

Presenters: Jake Mosier—Mosier Maple

Location: Western Star Lodge 307, John Williams Ave.—Turn south at McDonald’s towards Northwestern High School, Lodge is on right hand side.

 

Maple Syrup Quality Assurance and Grading,–In this program you will evaluate maple syrup for density, color, and clarity and flavor learning to recognize the grade characteristics for each of the new IMSI Standard Grades. The program will also take an in-depth look at how production practices affect syrup quality and ways to use that information to improve the quality of your product.

Presenter: Les Ober–Ohio State University, James Miller –Ohio Producer and Maple Products Judge

Location: St. Lawrence Catholic Center, Pearl Street, Albion, PA.  The St. Lawrence Catholic Center is located at the rear of St. Lawrence Catholic Church.  On E. State St. (Rt. 6N) in Albion turn north on Orchard Street and right onto E. Pearl Street.  The parking lot is on E. Pearl Street.

 

Evaluating your Sugarbush for Production, Health, Thinning, and Potential for Taps,–Learn how to take plots and evaluate a sugarbush before you tap or to decide if a thinning operation is needed.

Presenter: Peter Smallidge –Cornell University

Location: Jim Shumake’s woodlot—11401 Hilltop Road, Albion, PA.  Approximately 2.5 miles west of Albion, turn north onto Hilltop Road drive approx. 1 mile.

 

Visit to the Maple Museum,–Janet has spent much time and effort in developing her maple museum, you will have a chance learn how she did it and how it is valuable to her operation.

Presenter: Janet Woods

Location: Hurry Hill Maple Farm & Museum—11380 Fry Road, Edinboro, PA  16412  From I-79 Edinboro exit, travel east on 6N for about ¼ mile, turn left (north) on Fry Road. Travel  2 miles.  Museum is on left side of road.

  

Trade Show

Northwestern High School — 5 to 8 pm

 

6 pm     Auditorium       

Where is the Maple Industry Headed? — A round table discussion of the maple industry by Carl Lapierre, Glenn Goodrich, Joe Orefice.  The audience will also have an opportunity to ask questions to our experts in the maple industry.

Moderator: Les Ober, Ohio State

Many maple experts will be available for you to discuss topics one-on-one

 

 

Saturday, November 12th

 

8:00 am             Registration

8:30-9:00           Opening Ceremony – Auditorium

 

Speaker:

9:15 -10:15 Seminar Sessions #1

 

Beginner Maple—Part 1,  Presented by:   Les Ober–Ohio State University

Packaging Value Added Products, Presented by: Laura Dengler–How Sweet it is

Selling RO Water to Asarasi Inc., Presented by: Adam Lazar,– CEO Asarasi Water

Principals of Vacuum and Pump Selection, Presented by: Carl Lapierre—Lapierre Equipment Co

Spin Fusion Process and Mainline Tubing, Presented by: Speaker from CDL

Small Scale Sugarbush Management and Logging, Presented by:  Peter Smallidge –Cornell Co-op Ext.

Calculating Costs of Productions, Presented by: Mark Canella — University of Vermont farm business specialist.

Monitoring of Remote Collection Stations, Presented by: Bob Crooks–Marcland Controls

Using Maple Syrup in Sauces and Dressings, Presented by: Deanna Howles–Howles Maple Products

Filtering syrup by Gravity, Presented by: Chris Casbohm– Casbohm Maple & Honey

 

 

10:30 – 11:30 Seminar Session #2

 

Our New Operation, Presented by: Glenn Goodrich–Goodrich Maple Farm

Beginner Maple—Part 2, Presented by: Les Ober—Ohio State University

Using Social Media to Market Maple Syrup, Presented by: Kate Moody–Jamestown Community College

Selling to Chain Stores, Presented by: Mitch & Chris Hoyt–Skinny Sticks’ Maple Syrup

Successful Treatments for Buddy Syrup, Presented by: Martin Pelletier–Center ACER Extension

How to Get the Lead Out, Presented by: TBA

How to Work With a Forester, Presented by: Peter Smallidge–Cornell University

Maple Business Planning, Presented by: Mark Cannella–University of Vermont farm business specialist.

Tap Hole Lumber, Presented by: Joe Orefice–Director of Uihlein Forest Cornell University

Making Molded Cream and Sugar by Hand, Presented by:   Jake Mosier–Mosier Maple Products

Vacuum Cooling Candy and Cream, Presented by: Steve Childs–Cornell University

 

 

11:30 – 1:00 Lunch    Ox Roast Sandwich Meal

1:00 – 2:00 Seminar Session #3

 

Unique Value Added Products, Presented by:             Sarah Goodrich–Goodrich Maple Farm

Instruments Used In the Sugarhouse, Presented by: Les Ober–Ohio State Univ. & James Miller–Sugar Valley Maple

Update on Cornell Research, Presented by: Steve Childs–Cornell University

Buying the Syrup You Need, Presented by:   Mitch & Chris Hoyt–Skinny Sticks’ Maple

Comparison of Filter Press Types, Siro & Bank Style, Presented by: Carl Lapierre–Lapierre Equipment & Karl Evans–May Hill Supply

3/16 inch Tubing New Data from the 2017 Season, Presented by: Dr. Tim Wilmot–D&G

Monitoring Systems, Presented by: Jason Grossman–H20 Equipment Company

Marketing Maple, Presented by: Kate Ziehm–The Maple News

Silvo Pasturing, Presented by:  Joe Orefice–Director of Uihlein Forest Cornell University

Making Maple Suckers, Presented by:            Bill & Marge Phillips–Fort LeBoeuf Maple

Dress It Up, Packaging Products for Optimum Sales, Presented by: Ruth Goodrich–Goodrich Maple

 

2:15 – 3:15 Seminar Session # 4

 

Tubing Installation Methods, Presented by: Sarah Goodrich–Goodrich Maple Farm

Boiling & Containing Foam, Presented by: Kevin Lawyer–Leader Evaporator

Understanding Sap Flow, Presented by: Dr. Tim Wilmot–D & G

RO Performance, Presented by: Frank Kneeland–MES

History & Future of Maple Industry, Presented by:   Janet Woods–Hurry Hill Maple

Organic Certification—PA Organic Presented by:      TBA

High Brix RO, Presented by:   Kyle Lothian–H20 Equipment

Ecovac Evaporator, Presented by: Benoit Pepin–D&G

Maple Cotton Candy & Granulated Sugar, Presented by: Gary Bilek–Triple Creek Maple & James Miller–Sugar Valley Maple

Making Maple Straws, Presented by: Anthony Honeycutt–Albion FFA Advisor

 

3:30 – 4:00 Closing Ceremony and Door Prizes

 

 

 

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Sugarhill Container Price Increase

Below is a letter from the President of Hillside Plastics, Peter Haas.

September 2017

Dear Sugarhill® Customer,

As you may know, Hurricane Harvey created record damage to the petrochemical industry since it made landfall in Texas.  The impact of the storm has been substantial creating significant outages and logistics challenges.  The lingering flooding continues to pose a threat to the plastic bottle industry via disruption in supply.  As a direct result of the damage created by Hurricane Harvey, our resin suppliers declared Force Majeure earlier in September.

We having been doing everything in our power to secure back-up stocks, shift logistics to find alternate means to avoid interruption of supply, etc.  Thus far, despite being on Force Majeure allocation, we have been successful in preventing any significant interruptions to our customers.  Our priority continues to be to do everything we can to continue to provide you quality product with minimal interruption of supply.

This situation has resulted in substantial cost increases for HDPE resin and the logistics to have it delivered to our facility. To that end, we must increase prices by 10%, effective with shipments on 10/1/17 and thereafter.

As always, we sincerely appreciate your business and understanding of this necessary increase.

Regards,

Pete Haas

President

262 Millers Falls Road

Turners Falls, MA 01376

(413) 863-2222

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October 15th Pre-registration Deadline for the 2017 Lake Erie Maple Expo Approaching.

Les Ober, OSU Extension Geauga County

It is hard to believe that it has been six years since the concept of developing a maple syrup educational tradeshow, located in the central maple syrup producing region of the country, became a reality. Traditionally the majority of the educational seminars, on maple production, have been centered in New England and New York.  The idea of bringing a maple syrup expo to the shores of Lake Erie was definitely a long shot. However, the LEME planning committee, made up of producers from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York put together a program that was designed to meet the needs of maple producers in this region. They also realized that they could tap into a whole new audience that were not making the trip to the eastern programs and would really appreciate a chance to attend a maple syrup tradeshow in their home region. The LEME popularity has grown proportionally over the last 5 years. Over 500 producers came to the LEME last year. This year’s edition will continue to raise the bar when it comes to maple syrup education.

What can producers expect when they walk through the doors on November 10 & 11, 2017? On Friday the LEME will present a series of 4 hour workshops where producers have the opportunity of focusing on one specific topic. One of the highlights this year’ workshop series will be a Woods Walk and Talk with Glenn Goodrich. This workshop will offer a rare opportunity to learn the basics of sugarbush layout and design from one of the most respected experts in the maple Industry.  Another area many producers struggle with is tree health and management. To address this topic the LEME has once again invited Cornell University Extension Forester Dr. Peter Smallidge who will present a workshop on Sugarbush Management. For producers interested in a more in-depth look at maple syrup processing there will be three workshops to choose from. This year’s Boiling Workshop will be presented by Kevin Lawyer from the Leader Evaporator Co.  RO information is always in demand and the LEME has once again invited NY Maple Specialist Stephen Childs to discuss RO’s For the Small Producer. One of the most talked about areas in maple production is the adoption of the new grading system and how it relates to maple syrup quality.  Les Ober from OSU Extension along with Ohio Maple Producer and Maple Products Judge James Miller will go in-depth on the topic; Maple Grading and Quality Assurance How Can It Help You? Other workshops include a Beginners Workshop with Laura Dengler and Mark Lewis, A Museum Talk with Janet Woods and a Confections Workshop with Jake Moser. The registration for the Workshops is separate from the Expo registration. The cost to attend a 4 hour workshops is $30.00 which includes lunch.

After the workshops the program shifts back to Northwestern High School where the tradeshow will open at 5:00pm. The program will include maple equipment and more maple equipment along with a panel discussion at 6:30 pm. With all of the expansion in the maple Industry and the recent down turn in bulk prices, have you ever wondered “Where is The Maple Industry Headed?” The panel of expert’s discussion topic, by the same name, should shed some light on the subject.  Panel members include Glen Goodrich of Goodrich Maple, Carl Lapierre from Lapierre Maple Equipment and Joe Orefice, newly named Director of Cornell’s Uihlein Forest Research Center. If you are interested in knowing what the future may hold for the North American Maple Industry in the next 5 years and beyond, you will not want to miss this discussion.

On Saturday the Trade Show will open at 8:00 am followed by concurrent seminars where producers will be able to choose from over 40 different topics. Here is a sampling of the topics at this year’s LEME. Center Acer’s Martin Pelletire who will discuss the Center’s research on Off Flavors. Cornell University is represented by four speakers in this year program. NY Maple Specialist, Steve Childs will demonstrate how to use Vacuum Cooling to improve making maple candy and cream and an overview of maple research at the Cornell Maple Program. Dr. Peter Samllidge will present several programs related to sugarbush improvement and tree health.  Joe Orefice will present two topics on timber production.  Mark Cannella from Cornell’s Cooperative Extension will discuss putting together a business plan for your maple operation.  Les Ober from OSU Extension will offer two programs for the new producer. Industry presentations  include; The Principals of Vacuum and Pump Selection with Carl Lapierre, a boiling  seminar by Leader Evaporator sugarbush monitoring systems from Marcland and a Spin-Fusion demo from CDL. There will also be a wide variety of programs on confections and value added products presented by local and regional producers. A complete updated list of this year’s topics will be available by Mid-September.

Come join your fellow maple producers at the 2017 LEME, November 10 & 11, 2017 at Northwestern High School in Albion Pa. Friday morning the workshops will start at 10:00am at different venues across the area.  Friday evening the doors to tradeshow open at 5:00pm and the show will run until 8:00 pm. The evening program will begin at 6:30pm in the Auditorium. Saturday’s program will start with the tradeshow at 8:00am the educational seminars will begin at 9:00. The cost of both Friday evening and all day Saturday programs is 40.00 dollars. Lunch is included. Please plan on preregistering by Oct 15th.  A late registration fee will be charged after that date. For complete registration information go online to the Northwestern Penn. Maple Producer Association website www.pamaple.org

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2017 Maple Syrup Production in Ohio Better Than 2016

Les Ober

Geauga County OSU Extension

The production results from The USDA NASS Survey were published on June 9th. For Ohio the numbers were an improvement over 2016, but not by much. This year Ohio Produced 80,000 gallons, an improvement over the 70,000 gallons produced last year. Once again 75% of the producing states improved their production and for some it was a major improvement.  New York and Maine each added close to 50,000 gallon to last year’s production. The nation’s leading producer of maple syrup is no surprise, Vermont. Vermont is in no danger of losing its crown; production was once again just under 2,000,000 gallons. Finishing out the top 5 were New York with 760,000 gallons, Maine with 709,000, Wisconsin with 200,000 and New Hampshire with 154,000 gallons. Ohio continues to slide in its ranking to a disappointing   9th place. However, Ohio producers did increase production over 2016 by 10,000 due to an early start. The earliest recorded start date in Ohio was January 1, 2017, 25 days earlier than 2016. The problem is that when you look at the average start date across the state it was February 11th. That was problem given the mild weather conditions we experienced in January.  You also have to consider that the temperature reached 77degrees F at CLE on February 24th and the season ended early around March 16th. By comparison Vermont recorded their earliest start on January 1, their average starting date was February 24th and their average closing date was April 10th , that translate into 2 million gallons of  syrup produced over a 3 month period. Both New York and Maine had similar scenarios.

There were not many changes in the weather pattern experienced in 2016.  Weather, once again had a negative effect on production in the Buckeye State while the mild weather in the East boosted production in that region. Increasing tap numbers and warmer weather early in the season has allowed producers in that region to dramatically increase production.  Climate change is definitely opening up opportunities to make syrup in the northern regions of states like Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. Production is being expanded in regions that are at a higher elevation where traditional maple production was once hampered by steep slopes and short seasons. Now with the advent of vacuum and 3/16 tubing systems along with the trend toward early tapping, production has exploded in the form of huge 100,000 plus operations. Modern sugaring operations in the eastern states are not only big but they are efficient. The amount of Syrup per Tap in the big three has steadily increased and stayed around .300 gallons of syrup per tap. This has pushed the average syrup produced per tap in the United States to over .300 tap. This was an area where Ohio was once a leader but recently Ohio production has declined to .200 per tap. You can clearly blame, two poor production years in a row for this decline.

One final statistic that has shown a modest improvement over last year, but is still below 2015, is the number of taps recorded in the Buckeye State, showing only 400,000 taps in 2017. For anyone working closely with the Ohio maple industry this statistic is mind boggling given that expansion going on in sugar bushes across the state over the last 5 years. The only explanation for this is that a large portion of the syrup being produced in Ohio is going unreported. Another statistic that tends to cast suspicion on validity of Ohio’s maple production statistics is how Ohio producers choose to market their syrup. In 2015 44% of Ohio producers sold to the retail market. That number has dropped to 30% in 2016. At the same time the Bulk sale market share has gone from 32% in 2015 to 43% in 2016 ( note these numbers are always one year behind the current year).  Look at the marketing trends of big three (VT, NY & Maine) you will see that in the areas of expansion and big  production the largest percentage of their syrup is sold on the bulk market,46% in NY,  86% in  Vt. and 93% in Maine.  Now take a look at a state of Connecticut and you will see they sell over 50% retail. Makes you wonder how much syrup is actually being produced in Ohio and is being sold out the backdoor to eastern and western packers. If this true, it is sad, because the demand for maple syrup is on the increase in Ohio and the stores are flooded with Canadian and Eastern States syrup.

So what have we learned from the last several maple seasons and how can we improve our maple production?  The one thing that is clear is that the last five years have not been normal seasons for producing maple syrup. 2017, 2016 and 2013 were all warmer than normal and if you wanted to maintain average production for your operation you had to start early to get the early runs. This was especially true in 2017. Even the Polar Vortex Years of 2014 and 2015 presented their challenges due to the extremely cold winters and late starts that we experienced. The fact is, when the weather is right make the move and tap the trees. In most cases you will never make up for production lost early in the season by trying to extend the season at the tail end. Another factor is syrup quality. It is much easier to make a quality product in the first half of the season rather than struggling to make quality syrup while battling warm weather and increased bacterial contamination at the end. Hopefully 2018 will be a banner year for Ohio Maple producers, we are long overdue for a good one.

 

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Follow the 2017 Maple Syrup Season

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The 2017 maple season is underway. Follow the progress of the maple season on the Ohio Maple Blog http://www.ohiomaple.wordpress.com.  2017 Maple Season Progress Page Updated today!

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Things You Can Do to Ensure the Quality of Your Maple Syrup

 Les Ober
Geauga County
Ohio State University Extension

This post is in response to the article on maple syrup quality written by Dr. Michael Farrell in the last edition of the Maple News. First let me say that the article was not only excellent but very timely. The article addresses an issue that all of us producing maple syrup need to look at as we start a new seasons production. What I hope to do is highlight some of the areas in the production process where quality can be compromised. These are often identified through off flavors. The University of Vermont and the Vermont Ministry of Agriculture have given us an excellent tool for identifying the sources of off flavors in maple, “The Map of Maple; Off –Flavors”. This was also published in the last edition and is also available from the IMSI publications

After producing maple syrup for over 40 years and teaching seminars on maple syrup production for close to 20 years I have made, and have seen others make, most of the common mistakes that lead to off flavors and poor quality. In this article I will go over some, but certainly not all, of the factors that lead to poor quality. Many of which can be controlled by the producers with proper best management practices. The map of Maple: Off Flavors identifies 5 primary areas where off flavors occur; Mother Nature, defoamer, processing, chemicals and others. I want to address each of these, not in order but how they would occur from the start of the season to the end.

When you start out the season you need to be aware of several problem areas that can lead to off- flavors. Most stems from equipment maintenance after the previous season  and going into the new season.  When producers and hobbyist ask how I should clean up my equipment, my response is with a lot of water and elbow grease. Anytime we use chemicals to clean equipment we run the risk of leaving behind residues that can compromise flavor. If we use chemicals on our pans to clean them at the end of the season the chemical residue needs to be thoroughly cleaned out. If we store filters make sure there is no mold on those filters when they come out of storage. If you have mold on your filters, throw them out. Never use detergents to clean filters it will alter the flavor. Finally make sure you store your chemicals in a secure place away from the process of making syrup to avoid unintended contamination of your product. Finally if you use a tubing cleaner make sure it is flushed from the system. If you suspect some cleaner may be left in the lines then let part of the first run go to the ground. Most of the above are common sense but they need to be mentioned.

Probably the biggest culprit when it comes to off-flavor is processing. This is where the majority of the mistakes are made that result in off flavors. When we grade syrup we look at 4 primary areas density, color, clarity, and flavor. Even though each is judged separately they are actually all interrelated. Density affects syrup quality in several ways; first syrup must be 66 brix to meet USDA standards and if it is below 66 brix it can ferment and cause an off flavor. Syrup above 67 brix normally does not have an off flavor but the higher density  can cause crystallization in the bottom of the container and loss of revenue to the producer. As syrup moves across the front pan the density changes rapidly and so does the color. Density changes occur with the rapid removal of water increasing the sugar concentration. Color changes occur as the sugar molecules change due to the introduction of heat. These changes happen very quickly and need to be monitored closely. Anything that interferes with flow of sap through the evaporator can cause the syrup to get darker and possibly cause an off flavor. Many feel that density is the most critical part of the process and at times reaching the proper density can be very illusive. Improper density management can lead to two off flavors that are very common in syrup; fermented and scorched. It can also lead to an unwanted change in color. The additional boiling time can also affect flavor causing an unnatural taste that is not representative of the grade you are processing.

We use three tools to measure density, the hydrometer, the thermometer and the refractometer. All sugarmakers use a hydrometer. Hydrometers should be inspected or checked for possible problems and replaced if suspect. Often the paper with the scale printed on it can slip resulting in the wrong brix reading. The hydrometer can become coated with film resulting in an inaccurate reading. A good hydrometer will give you an accurate reading only if it is used at the right temperature. Temperatures below that require consulting a chart to get the right brix reading for a specific temperature. Maple syrup boils at 7 degrees above the boiling point of water or 219 degrees. Many producers use a thermometer to determine the draw off point. The only problem is that that the 219 reading is only accurate if the barometer is at 29.9 hg barometric pressure. A thermometer needs to be recalibrated every time the barometric pressure rise or falls. This makes a thermometers reliability somewhat suspect. However, syrup temperature is vital when it comes to setting an automatic draw off. The final tool is what many consider the judge and the jury of maple syrup density, the refractometer. What many producers do not realize is that, for a refractometer to work properly, it needs to read a product that is finished and one that is stable in temperature. This was pointed out the other day, when I had a conversation with Robert Crooks of Marcland Instruments. For a refractometer to work properly it has to be able to refract light coming through the sample it can only do that accurately if the sample in the instrument is a clear finished sample. Taking a sample of cloudy unfiltered syrup can lead to an inaccurate reading. The temperature of the product also affects the light refraction. Even though the refractometer is built to automatically compensate for temperature that temperature needs to be stable. If you leave freshly drawn off syrup set in a container it will continue to evaporate water until it cools down. Think of what happens to a roast when you pull it from the oven, it continues to cook. This is why it is recommended that you cover a container with hot unfiltered syrup to stop the loss of moisture.  If you use a refractometer to set the draw off, take the syrup and run it through the filter and collect a sample allowing it to  sit for 15 minutes then take your refractometer reading. This  will give you the most accurate reading from your  refractometer.

If you use a conventional auto draw-off, be aware that it takes time to complete the draw off process. This means that syrup will be drawn off over a range of temperatures. Therefore set the draw off to actuate slightly below the desired temperature and it will finish slightly above. Using a hydrometer is the best way to set your draw off. However, make sure you are reading the hydrometer at the recommended syrup temperature. You can use a refractometer but it has to be used on a finished temperature stable product. This process may take more time than you have to make a correction on the draw-off.

As sap moves across the evaporator temperature gradient sets up. Ninety percent of the water is removed by the time the sap reaches the middle of the front pan. Syrup needs to move from the middle of the syrup pan to the outlet relatively fast. Any interruption with this process that interferes with the temperature gradient and holds the syrup on the pan longer will result in syrup that can be darker and denser than desired. One common mistake is to allow the pans to cool during the firing process. Anytime you cool off the pans the temperature of the sap drops and this causes the boiling temperature to drop resulting in the sap on one side of the gradient to mix with sap on the other gradient. You need to keep a constant heat level on the front pan at all times. This is more critical in a wood fired evaporator.

The other problem is foam control. Excessive foam in the back pan can cause problems with you float and may interfere will your ability to control the level of the sap in the evaporator. If this happens you will need to use a defoamer to control the problem. When using defoamer, the only place the defoamer should be added is at the point where sap enters the rear pan and occasionally a couple of drops if needed, at the draw-off if foam builds up as you are drawing off.  This should be done at regular intervals placing the prescribed number of drops (2 drop per foot of width) where the sap enters the evaporator. Never spray defoamer across the front pan to control foam. Using defoamer in this manner will impede the boil and break down the gradient. This can lead to the dreaded big batch.  If the front pan is foaming excessively, then the foam is not being properly controlled in the back pan, correct the problem back there. Use only small amounts of defoamer, excessive use can result in an off flavor. Organic producers must use safflower or canola oils which are very poor defoamers. Be careful, using an excessive amount of these products can result in an off flavor.

The other problem that can cause scorching in an evaporator is to allow niter to buildup. When niter buildup it will insulates the bottom of the pan from the liquid creating a potential hot spot which can result in a scorched spot on the pan. You need to keep liquid in contact with the pan at all times. Always keep your pans as niter free as possible by rotating sides or using a clean set of pans. Using a good syrup filtering system to remove niter is vital if you want to produce syrup that meets the clarity standard. You should be able to read newspaper print through a sample bottle of syrup that has been properly filtered. Cloudy syrup with a lot of niter can produce an off-flavor. Remember every time you heat your syrup to a boil more niter will precipitate out and it will need to be re-filtered. That is why you do not want to bring your syrup to a boil when canning. 185 degrees Fahrenheit is the required temperature for canning.

As maple producers we fight the growth of bacteria through our entire system. When bacteria colonies multiply within sap they convert sucrose sugar molecules to Glucose and other invert sugar molecules. This increase in invert sugar, when exposed to heat will cause a darker product. This is most prevalent at the end of the season when the bacterial content of sap is at its highest. Bacteria can affect the entire process of making syrup from the tubing system right through canning. Because sap has a sugar content it is a perfect media for bacterial growth. It goes without saying you can never be too clean when it comes to making syrup. Sap needs to be collected in clean equipment, it need to be kept cool and processed quickly. At the beginning of the season if we start with a properly sanitized system we have few problems with bacteria but as the season progresses the problems increase. Maple Producers need to know when to end the season. Producing syrup late in the season when the trees are near budding and the sap is out of condition has little value to you or the industry.  Syrup also needs to be packaged correctly to control bacterial growth in container that can lead to spoilage. That is why we always pack plastic jugs at 185 degrees. This prevents condensation which can supply an environment for bacterial growth in the container.

As you can see there are many areas within the process of making syrup the sugarmaker can have an impact on the quality of the product that is producing. The is attention to detail from equipment sanitation to efficiency of processing is what separates many producers when it comes to product quality. Making the highest quality product possible should be your goal, you reputation as a maple producer depends on it.

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Ohio Slips to Eighth in the Nation in Maple Syrup Production

Les Ober
Geauga County
OSU Extension

We knew the year got off to a late start and that could translate to a below average season. We hoped that would not happen and in a way it did not. Ohio produced 115,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2015. Ohio only lost 15,000 gallons in production from 2013 but ended up being ranked 8th in the nation, slipping from 6th place last year and 4th place in 2012. This was reported in the USDA Nation Agricultural Statistic Service June Crop Production REport on June 10th.
It is not that Ohio did not have an average season; it is just that other maple producing states are continuing to improve their production and are doing better than Ohio. The NASS reported maple producing states, ranked from top to bottom in gallons produced; Vermont 1,390,000, New York 601,000, Maine 553,000, Wisconsin 215,000, Pennsyvania 165,000, New Hampshire 154,000, Michigan 127,000, Ohio 115,000, Massachusetts 75,000 and Connecticut 19,000.

The stand out statistic is tap numbers. According to USDA NASS Ohio has not significantly increased their tap numbers in three year. We remain stuck between 440,000 and 450,000 taps. New Hampshire, a state that perennially has finished below Ohio in production, added close to 100,000 taps in the last year and is now ranked ahead of Ohio. Our neighbor to the east Pennsylvania continues to take advantage of their growth potential and has steadily increased its production each year.

Maybe you disagree with the results of this annual survey, I know I do. To report that Ohio has not increased tap numbers in 3 years is beyond belief. But it is not the surveys fault. NASS only reports what they get and they only get reports from a small number of producers. If you consider a large producer to be 5000 taps and above and took that number and divided it into 440,000 that would equal 88 producers across the state of Ohio who run 5000 taps or more. That number may not be outside the realm of believability, in fact it may be high but what about all of the producers that run 2000 taps or more. If you take this into consideration you can quickly see that there is a large amount of syrup going unreported.

Why should we care? In a world that is run on statistics and where more times than not the squeaky wheel gets the grease, Ohio maple producers could quickly come out on the short end of the deal. From time to time the OMPA has applied for funds to help facilitate the industry. These funds are limited and we are ranked against other with similar needs. An industry in decline or standing still will not get the consideration that a growth industry will. I have always said the Ohio maple industry is a growth industry and I am sticking by that, but it is not being reflected in the NASS Report. There are many people that judge a book by its cover and the cover report from NASS is that maple syrup production is slipping in Ohio. Insiders know different but that does not count. Unfortunately the NASS report is the only tool we have to evaluate our progress, everything else is just speculation. That is why OSU Extension took the time to invite a representative of Ohio NASS to our winter meetings. We hoped that attending producers would see the value of the survey and participate. I have said this before, too much syrup in Ohio is going unreported and this may eventually hurt our industry.

Overall Ohio production was average at best. Blame that on a late start and a shortened number of days in production. On the average we started production on March 7th and closed on April 3rd. Ohio producers were only in production 27 days this year. However, that was one day longer than Vermont, which produced 1,390,000 gallons. This showed up in a rea where Ohio normally excels, yield per tap. Ohio continued to slip closer to a quart of syrup per tap producing only .26 in 2015. We produced .352 gallons of syrup per tap in 2013 second highest in the nation. Overall it was a below average year. Lets hope 2016 is better. If you want to read the whole report, go to the USDA NASS website and enter Crop Production June 2015 into search. The maple report starts on page 13.

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