From Tree to Table Maple Webinar

Please enjoy this 1-hour presentation led by Kathy Smith, Les Ober, and Gabe Karns.  This opportunity was made available through the Woodland Stewards Friday in the Woods webinar series.  Nearly 150 attendees listened to a wide coverage of beginner maple topics followed by a full hour of Q & A that ranged from more technical aspects of boiling and filtering and processing syrup to more inquisitive investigations of why the freeze-thaw cycle is necessary for making sap flow and if tapped wood has any market potential as lumber.

Ohio Maple Days 2021 Presentations AVAILABLE

Despite being virtual due to COVID-19, 2021 Ohio Maple Days – or more accurately Ohio Maple Day sans the “s” – was a success.  The audience, two hundred or so strong, heard presentations on tapping and updates from our ACER grants in addition to how production might be increased with red maple.  A big thanks to this year’s speakers and an extra round of applause for the committee who worked hard on an event that looked quite a bit different than in years past.  One silver lining to having a virtual event is that the sessions are easily recorded.

Visit the Ohio Woodland Stewards Maple page and scroll to the bottom of that webpage to access the different presentations.  Let us know what you think and send us any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions to talk topics for next year!

From Tree to Table: Webinar for the Maple Curious

Join OSU’s Les Ober, Geauga Co. Extension, and SENR’s Gabe Karns and Kathy Smith, for this session on how to make your own syrup or explore turning your woods into a sugarbush as an income opportunity. We will talk some history, tree species to tap, how to tap and how to boil and bottle maple sap. Have a few trees in the yard or a woods that has potential? We will try to answer all your questions.

The FREE webinar will be March 12 from 10 AM-noon.  Registration link here!

Also don’t forget this weekend is the first of 2 for the Ohio Maple Madness Spring Driving TourClick here for more information.

2021 Ohio Maple Madness Spring Tour

Get ready for the Ohio Maple Madness Spring Tour that starts the Saturday and Sunday of March 6th and 7th and spills over to the next week, March 13-14 as well.  Inside the Spring Tour guide is a list of producers who look forward to hosting you during this year’s tour.

Get Ready!! 2021 Ohio Maple Madness Spring Tour

The Ohio Maple Madness Spring Tour is scheduled for March 6th & 7th and March 13th & 14th.  The bookended Saturdays / Sundays event will be similar to the fall tour.  Whatever COVID-19 protocols are issued by our governor at that time will be in place for the Spring Tour.

Anyone interested in joining the 2021 Ohio Maple Madness tour should reach out to Fred or Jen at Richards Maple ASAP.  Fred’s email is fred@richardsmapleproducts.com and Jen’s is jen@richardsmapleproducts.com.  You can also call Fred Ahrens 330-206-1606 to get more information and lock in your spot on the tour.

More information will be going out to OMPA members and the event will be advertised across an array of websites and social media outlets.  The deadline to be listed in the printed advertisements has already passed, but there is still time to join the Tour and be listed in digital ads.  The fee is $90 per stop.  The cost includes OMPA membership/benefits for a year, covers IMSI/NAMSC dues for a year, and makes sure your maple operation is a part of this year’s 2021 Maple Madness Tour!

If know that you want to participate in this spring’s Maple Madness tour, reach out ASAP to Fred or Jen and have your bio, open hours, address, and any new maple recipes ready to send to the following address:

Ohio Maple Madness Tour
545 Water Street
Chardon, OH 44024

REGISTER NOW: Ohio Maple Days 48 Hours Away!!

Just a friendly reminder to register for Friday’s 2021 Ohio Maple Days event.  Ohio Maple Days will look different than in year’s past with remote presentations to a Zoom audience.  But one thing has not nor will ever change – the high quality content you have come to expect from Ohio’s signature education event for the Buckeye State’s maple producers.

Hope to see you there!

Getting Started in Maple – FREE webinars 1/18 & 1/25

Penn State Extension is offering free webinars to maple beginners on January 18th (noon) and January 25th (7 PM).

Topics covered will include identifying different maple tree species, proper tapping procedures, boiling the sap, and filtering the final syrup product.  Registration is FREE, click here for more information.

2021 Ohio Maple Days – Virtual Event Announcement

Join us for the virtual version of Ohio Maple Days on Friday, January 15th!  Due to COVID-19 restrictions Ohio Maple Days will take place all on one day and be offered virtually.  The event will be recorded and available afterwards for viewing.  For questions contact Dr. Gary Graham (email: graham.124@osu.edu).

The registration link and more details about the agenda can be found here.  We hope to see you there!

For Maple Producers (and everyone else for that matter), 2020 Has Been Different!

I thought everyone would appreciate an article that provides an update on how the world of maple education is adapting to the pandemic. First, I suppose everyone realizes that normal is still a way off in the future, but that has not stopped us from delivering maple education. All the normal events, the Lake Erie Maple Expo, the Southern Syrup Research Symposium and the New York Mid-Winter Conference among others, have been cancelled. But in their place, a series of virtual maple programs have been delivered by specialists from across the maple producing regions. Let us step back to April and see where we have been and where we are going

In April 2020, everything came to a standstill as COVID-19 numbers increased in the United States. The pandemic had major impacts on the food production chain and food processing/distribution system. It was also a difficult time for Extension educators. Most of April and May were spent adjusting our work schedules to abide by rapidly changing health regulations. We were and are still working mostly from home.  In-person meetings were all but cancelled, and teams of educators started brainstorming new ways to communicate with producers. It is very fortunate that we have access to virtual technologies in 2020 that were not available as little as just 5 years ago.

By June, plans were being formulated to find creative ways of delivering important information to our producers. As luck would have it, three universities from Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania (Ohio State, Penn State, and West Virginia’s Future Generations University) were awarded an ACER Access Grant in autumn 2019. The grant’s primary purpose was to conduct two surveys and collect information to help develop marketing opportunities across the region. Along with the surveys going out across the 3 states, outreach programs have been presented virtually with the next webinar launching at 7 PM on December 17th. COVID-19 slowed the survey timeline, but the first program series came out in June helping producers struggling to sell maple product during the pandemic. This was the first of what would become a series of monthly programs. In the months to follow, UVM Proctor Research Center and The Cornell Maple Program started producing virtual programs as well. In addition, we here at Ohio State University launched this new Ohio State Maple website that took much of my previous posts and expanded it to include contributions from additional authors as well as a host of education, extension, research, and other maple-related content.

For Ohio State University, decisions to drastically alter the long-established Extension model of outreach and education have not been easy decisions to make nor been made lightly.  We hope our audiences understand and appreciate our commitment to new and virtual programming, but we also understand that virtual remote programming is far from perfect. We also understand that in the rural portions of our state internet connections are less than optimal providing barriers to accessibility.  Many have found ways to adapt, and we are also recording and archiving programs so you can view them later at your convenience.  We are also looking into ways we can deliver this current and relevant outreach to our Amish maple producers community

Where does this leave us going into the winter months, and when will in-person programming return? I cannot speak for other institutions because health rules vary from state-to-state, but this is what I see happening at OSU. Right now, we are operating under Ohio’s health mandate. Group size maximums are still set at 10 people (including instructors), though with increasing case levels, all in-person meetings are now on hold except for critical circumstances. Everyone including the instructor must wear a mask, and it is preferred that meetings be held outside. All meetings must strictly follow CDC guidelines. Because of the current and strict regulations at the state and university level, we have decided to continue with the path of virtual leaning. It is not unforeseeable to see the trend continuing far into 2021. A committee is currently planning the 2021 Ohio Maple Days, and it will be presented in a virtual format. Plans are to present the program virtually so that everyone can stay safe at home and view the program. The Ohio Maple Producers Association is making provisions to make the program available to those who do not have internet, details forthcoming. Pre-registration for the 2021 Ohio Maple Days will be required.

As we approach winter, uncertainty still looms on the horizon. I encourage you all to be patient, and if and as often as you can, to take advantage of the virtual programs being offered. We will continue to keep you posted on upcoming programs and events on the Ohio State Maple site. Just like you, I deeply miss the opportunity to attend events like the Lake Erie Maple Expo and fellowship in-person with everyone at the Ohio Maple Days event. Not being able to walk into a room filled with polished stainless and not being able to visit with my fellow producers is more than disappointing. Eventually, we will move beyond COVID-19, and the events we look forward too will return. And when they do, they will be bigger and better than ever. For now, be safe and stay healthy!

Author: Les Ober, Geauga County OSU Extension