BETHANY—The annual meeting of the Northeast PA Maple Producers Association is slated to take place at the Bethany United Methodist Church this Saturday, January 19.
“We welcome anyone who's interested in Pennsylvania maple syrup – from making syrup yourself to watching the process in local sugar houses, to using maple syrup as an ingredient or pouring it on your pancakes,” stated Kristin Curtis, the association's secretary/treasurer, in an email.
Beginning with coffee-fueled registration at 9 and the meeting start at 10, the event offers an interchange of information and resources between industry veterans and those wishing to break ground (or bark in this case) for the first time.
“Maple syrup production can be as simple as tapping a few trees in your front yard and boiling it down outdoors to building a sap house and installing high-tech equipment with bells and whistles,” said Curtis. “It's a wonderful activity for the family in late winter when you want to get outdoors and do something productive. Now is the time to prepare for tapping!”
During the meeting, attendees will be treated to a video presentation by Mark Isselhardt, displaying research from the University of Vermont, and a presentation by 2018 Maple Sweetheart Katie Nebzydoski.
Nebzydoski, now the Alternate Maple Ambassador for the State of Pennsylvania, will present her study for the State Maple Tour, titled “Spectral Analysis of the Carbohydrates in PA Maple Syrup,” explained Curtis.
Results from and a presentation on the recent Pennsylvania Farm Show will also be on display, including “...some very special artwork from Sadie Nahman, a Western Wayne student, under the direction of her art teacher, Justin Hayden,” states a letter from Maple Producers President George Harris.
There will also be director elections, updates for the year, and an equipment demonstration set up by Justus Asthalter Maple and Shemanski Maple.
Information, along with signs and stakes, regarding the upcoming Open House Tour in March will also be available at Saturday's meeting.
The Open House Tour is scheduled for March 16th and 17th according to a release from the PennState Extension (PSE) Office.
Curtis noted Kelley Stewart, Forest Specialist with the Wayne Conservation District will be there to promote the Open House Tour, as well as update attendees on the invasive Spotted Lanternfly threatening several arboreal industries in Pennsylvania.
Syrup producers can purchase Pennsylvania Grade Labels this weekend at a cost of $6.50 per roll of 1000.
Association dues will also be collected on Saturday.
Dues for producers of more than 100 gallons of syrup are $25. Those making less than 100 gallons owe $20 in dues.
The meeting is expected to conclude with a noon meal consisting of pancakes, eggs, home fries, sausage, and “100 percent pure Pennsylvania maple syrup,” states the PSE release.
The lunch costs $9.
Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP as soon as possible by calling the PSE office at 570-253-5970 ext. 4110, or leaving an email at WayneExt@psu.edu.
Curtis stated in an email, the Northeastern PA Maple Producers Association, formed in 1962 has eight key objectives:
• “To promote the best interests of the Northeastern PA maple producers.
• “To assist producers in improving the quality of their products.
• “To help inform producers of new methods of production and to provide a channel for exchange of ideas and experiences.
• “To assist in the promotion of local or area maple products at fair prices.
• “To encourage good maple woodlot management for present and future benefits.
• “To promote the conservation of maple trees and woodlands and the control of insects and other natural enemies.
• “To be aware of educational opportunities such as agricultural fairs and other means that attract the public interest.
• “To cooperate at all times with other organizations which are concerned with any or all of the above objectives.”
—Information from a release was used in this story.