WOOSTER, Ohio — New food safety laws, sap collection systems, syrup grading systems and more will be featured at this year’s Ohio Maple Days, which are Jan. 21 in Morrow County, Jan. 22 in Wayne County and Jan. 23 in Geauga County.
The annual events, which are the same at each location, offer educational sessions for commercial and hobby maple producers.
“They’re timed to help producers get ready for the coming season,” said organizer Gary Graham, maple syrup specialist with Ohio State University Extension and one of the program’s speakers.
Ohio’s maple syrup season usually starts sometime in February.
OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.
How to reach more customers
Graham, who coordinates OSU Extension’s Maple Syrup Program, will present “Marketing: Sweet Signs for a Sweet Product” as a featured speaker at the events.
“With the flatline bulk prices in today’s marketplace, it’s essential for producers to market their products,” Graham said. He’ll give tips on reaching younger, wider audiences.
“The marketing efforts of old don’t have the same impact as in the past, as our society moves to more digital-hungry consumers,” he said.
How to meet food safety laws
Also featured will be Dan Milo, food safety supervisor with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety, and Steve Childs, maple specialist at New York’s Cornell University.
Milo will speak on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 and on Ohio’s new laws governing syrup sales and inspections.
“Dan is a hobby maple producer himself and has been working with the federal rulings under the act,” Graham said.
How to size tubing, make candy
Childs will give sessions on tubing and vacuum systems, on making maple candy as a value-added product, and on Cornell’s latest maple research.
“Cornell’s maple research station has been working on many topics to help producers properly size and lay out a tubing collection system as well as get the most out of their vacuum system,” Graham said.
The station also has done research on consumer preferences in maple candy.
“(Childs) will talk about the methods and equipment you can use to make maple candy, from strictly handmade to the water-jacketed candy cream machine and the new mold popper,” Graham said.
Trade show, hydrometer testing
Each event also will have a trade show; reports from OSU Extension and the Ohio Maple Producers Association; free testing of hydrometers and Vermont Temporary Maple Syrup Grading Kits, which attendees are encouraged to bring; and a session called “Maple Nuggets” for sharing questions, ideas and information.
A complete list of the events’ topics and speakers is at go.osu.edu/2016OhioMapleDays.
The events’ three locations are:
- Jan. 21, Morrow County, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Lutheran Memorial Camp, 2790 State Route 61, Fulton.
- Jan. 22, Wayne County, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Mennonite Christian Assembly Church, 10664 Fredericksburg.
- Jan. 23, Geauga County, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Joe J.S. Miller’s Window Shop, 15020 Shedd Road, Burton.
The Geauga County event will have an additional trade show from 5-9 p.m. Jan. 22 in the same location.
How to register
Preregistration is $30 and includes lunch, refreshments and handouts. The deadline to preregister is Jan. 12. Payment at the door is $35 and doesn’t include lunch. The Jan. 22 Geauga County trade show is $3 at the door.
To register, send your name, contact information, the location you wish to attend, and check or money order (made payable to OSU Extension) to OSU Extension, Holmes County, 75 E. Clinton St., Millersburg, OH 44654
The events are being sponsored by OSU Extension’s Maple Syrup Program and by the college’s research arm, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.