Tap into the syrup possibilities on your farm by taking the six-week "Introduction to Maple Syrup Production" online course with the Cornell Small Farms Program.
The "Introduction to Maple Syrup Production" course will be held from November 6 - December 11, 2018, with webinars on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. EST.
Maple syrup production is rapidly growing around the Northeast and offers a sound financial opportunity to utilize woodlots. This course explores the range possibilities of maple sugaring on your land — be it for supplemental income or for your livelihood. Also discussed are "alternative" trees for production, including Birch and Black Walnut. The content presented assumes the student has little past knowledge of sugaring, but a background in agriculture or forestry will be very helpful.
Online courses are led by expert farmers and extension educators, who guide students through the latest research-based information to help improve efficiency and increase profit on small farms. Students connect with other farmers, work on farm plans, and gain practical tips without leaving their home. The "Introduction to Maple Syrup Production" course is taught by Steve Gabriel, the Agroforestry Specialist for Cornell Small Farms Program, co-owner of Wellspring Forest Farm, and co-author of Farming the Woods. This course will be co-taught by members of the Cornell Maple Team, which has been at the forefront of developing a robust sugaring industry for farmers around the Northeastern US and Canada.
Through this course participants will learn to:
- Develop and manage a forest stand for optimal maple sap production and long-term health and productivity
- Understand the costs and benefits of utilizing buckets, bags, and tubing systems to gather sap
- Design a maple tubing system to achieve maximum sap yields in a cost-effective manner
- Process sap in to syrup in a cost effective manner that is appropriate for the size of the operation
- Develop a basic business plan for a successful sugaring operation
Week 1: Is Sugaring Right For You? - November 6th
Topics covered: Navigating in Moodle (our online classroom), course expectations, student introductions, top reasons to make maple syrup, history, and questions to consider before starting.
Week 2: Sugarbush Evaluation and Management - November 13th
Topics covered: Sugarbush ecology, evaluating the tapping potential of land, strategies to manage for optimum productivity and health.
Week 3: Sap Collection - November 20th
Topics covered: Strategies for collecting sap including buckets, bags, and vacuum and natural gravity tubing, considerations for sap quality.
Week 4: Expanding Your Sugaring Operation - November 27th
Topics covered: increasing yield, leasing taps and buying sap from nearby landowners, contracts and common pitfalls.
Week 5: Turning Sap into Syrup - December 4th
Topics covered: cooking sap on wood, gas, and oil boilers, reverse osmosis, ways to increase efficiency.
Week 6: Marketing and Value-Added Products - December 11th
Topics covered: Sales strategies, making maple candy, sugar, and other products.
Registration closes on Sunday, October 28 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
$195-295, depending on household income