August 18, 2009
Contact: Michael Farrell, Uihlein Maple Forest, 518-523-9337, cell: 518-637-7000

Northern NY to Host New York State Maple Tour September 27-29, 2009

Lake Placid, NY -- Where better to learn about the latest progressive and unique maple sugaring techniques than in the heart of New York’s Adirondack Mountains? The Adirondack Maple Producers Association is hosting the September 27-29 New York State Maple Tour with speakers and sugarhouse tours starting from the Lake Placid Horseshow Grounds.

“We are encouraging experienced producers and those considering getting into the maple business to attend any or all of this three-day event,” says Northern New York Maple Specialist and Cornell University Uihlein Maple Forest Director Michael Farrell.

Farrell has conducted a comprehensive survey of the maple industry in Northern New York. His research shows the potential for the region to grow its maple production resources into a $9 million annual industry. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, Northern NY has 347 maple farms: 55 producers in Clinton County, 22 in Essex County, 36 in Franklin County, 26 in Jefferson County, 112 in Lewis County, and 96 in St. Lawrence County.

Program Includes Vermont, NY, Cornell Maple Experts & NNY Sugarmakers
Landowners interested in learning more about maple syrup production are encouraged to attend the Sunday 4-6pm reception to meet maple producers and talk with equipment dealers at the trade show. There is a $10 fee that includes complimentary hors’ doeuvres.

Dr. Timothy Perkins, director of the Proctor Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont, Underhill, Vermont, will open the program at the Sunday, September 27th evening reception discussing the latest research on check-valve adapters.

At the Monday, September 28th evening awards banquet, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Patrick Hooker and his staff will offer a report on the work of the new state Maple Task Force. The Maple Task Force was formed in March 2009 to identify the programmatic and regulatory measures needed to enhance the vitality of New York’s maple industry.

The Monday evening banquet will also feature Clark Wolf, a leader in the food and hospitality industry. He will speak about the importance of building the local food economy and the role maple syrup producers can play in developing sustainable and thriving communities.

On Monday, September 28th, the New York State Maple Tour will visit sugarhouses in the Lake Placid area including:
• North Country School, a co-ed boarding and day school for grade 4-9 children – the school operates a wood-fired evaporator to boil 400 buckets’ worth of sap collected by students. The school also leases several thousand taps to Tony Corwin, whose South Meadow Farm Maple Sugarworks is located across the road from the school. The school is currently thinning a newly-acquired forest for Corwin to tap.

• Uihlein Maple Forest is a 200-plus acre Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station of Cornell University. Farrell will lead a tour of the 5,000-tap sugarbush, a sweet tree plantation, and newly-built education center and community garden. New York State Extension Forester and Cornell Maple Program Director Peter Smallidge will demonstrate proper tree felling and chainsaw safety techniques and a method for controlling beech understory sapling encroachment.

• At Heaven Hill Farm, Henry Uihlein’s old sugarhouse has been renovated as a site for teaching local students about syrup production. Tour participants will learn about two research projects supported by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program and Cornel University here – the timing of tapping for optimal sap flow and the effects of different thinning treatments on sugar maple tree growth and sap production.

The Tuesday, September 29th sugarhouse tour will travel one hour northeast to the Chazy, NY, area to visit:
• Parker Family Maple Farm, a sugaring and dairy farm established in 1889 by Earl Parker’s grandparents. The modern wood sugarhouse has an attached candy kitchen, bottling room and restroom facilities. The Parkers tap between 18,000 and 20,000 trees, some rented from the neighboring WH Miner Agricultural Research Institute. William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute operates a demonstration dairy and equine farm and offers educational programs in dairy and equine management and environmental science. The Parker family has practiced sugarbush thinning for more than 40 years and is a collaborator on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program/Cornell University sugarbush thinning research project.

• Homestead Maple is a smaller sugarbush operation established as a hobby business in 1994. Owner David Swan has 225 taps and 25 display buckets and is upgrading toward making maple sugaring a full-time retirement venture. Swan sells most of his syrup from the sugarhouse, but also uses independent representatives in Missouri and Maryland for sales.

Tour options include discounted tickets for a bird’s eye view of the Adirondack Mountains from the top of the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumps on Monday.

For New York State Maple Tour information and registration, contact the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau, 49 Parkside Drive, Lake Placid, NY 12946, 518-523-2445 x109. Registration deadline is September 11, 2009. Registration form and details are on the New York State Maple Producers Association website at www.nysmaple.com

For details on Northern NY maple industry research in regional sugarbushes in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office and go online to the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org. Maple production and research information is on the Cornell Maple Program website at http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu. #

Additional Contacts:
• Cornell Maple Program: http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu
• New York State Maple Producers Association: www.nysmaple.com
• Northern New York Agricultural Development Program: www.nnyagdev.org