Mixing Big 10 and SEC schools generally results in a brouhaha – not this time. The University of Kentucky and Ohio State’s Maple team partnered to host a well-attended workshop last Monday evening just across the Ohio River in Boone County, Kentucky. Strategically located to attract new and existing producers from southern Ohio and across Kentucky, 70 folks showed out for the event. Beginning outdoors at the Boone County Nature Center, speakers covered topics ranging from maple identification to sustainable tapping practices and showcased demonstrations of different sap collection methods (buckets, bags, tubing) and a steaming boil on the local evaporator.
Along the way, attendees participated in a discussion of different grades and tastes of maple syrup profiled by a couple taste tests. With a side-by-side comparison, many people were surprised just how different the same basic product – pure maple syrup – can taste. That taste bud tease led us back to the Boone County Extension Center for a catered City BBQ meal and more presentations on value-added products, a couple short videos on sugarhouse design, and an excellent round of Q&A and conversations that lingered well after the event officially ended at 7 PM.
Many thanks to all who attended, and we look forward to continuing this partnership to expand the good news of maple across the southern tier! To join up with your local community of maple producers, everyone should strongly consider joining their state association. The Ohio Maple Producers Association annual event is Friday and Saturday, November 3-4th with Detailed Agenda here and a link to Register here. The Kentucky Maple Syrup Association is also hosting their Maple School on Saturday, November 4th at the Berea Forestry Outreach Center and there is a button to join their ranks at the bottom of their webpage.