Guest post by Carri Jagger, a MUCH appreciated piece of the Ohio State Maple puzzle!
On November 10th and 11th the Pennsylvania Maple Producers Association and the Northwestern FFA hosted the 2023 Lake Erie Maple Expo in Albion PA. The Expo kicked off on Friday morning with a variety of sessions from beginning maple production, confections, and value-added products to tubing installation and vacuum.
I had the opportunity to attend the Advanced Tubing and Installation workshop on Friday that was taught by Steve Childs, retired maple specialist from Cornell University. Steve taught us how to use the basal area angle gauge to estimate the potential number of taps per acre.
Steve also taught about evaluating your current maple tubing system to make sure that it is operating as efficiently as possible. He shared the Cornell Maple Tubing and Vacuum System Notebook with the class. You can view and print the notebook from the Cornell Maple Program Notebook Series Website.
On Saturday the conference resumed at the Albion High School where there were 4 concurrent sessions that covered 30 different topics. I took the opportunity to attend the maple value-added track where I learned about using a glucose meter to check the invert sugar levels in maple syrup. Determining invert sugar levels are important if you are planning on using your maple syrup for maple candy, sugar, cream and other confections. If you would like to learn more about making maple confections check out the Cornell Maple Confections Notebook offered at the website above.
I also attended sessions about the distillation of maple and making beverages with maple. Michigan State and Cornell are both doing extensive research about using late season maple and off flavor maple to distill into a marketable product. Cornell has created recipes for several maple beverages and those can be found at the Cornell new product development site.
In addition to the conference there was also a trade show to visit with vendors about new and existing maple syrup equipment. The conference was a great learning opportunity for both new and seasoned maple syrup producers. The Lake Erie Maple Expo is always the second weekend in November and I encourage you to attend.