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Syrup Production Workshop To Be Held In Highland

Maple syrup production is a tradition in Highland County, but methods and procedures have changed over time. We spoke with Missy Moyers-Jarrells of Laurel Fork Sapsuckers Sugar Camp to find out more about an upcoming workshop where producers can learn about new techniques.

“At Laurel Fork, we are doing several studies right now on the sustainability of harvesting your forest to increase your maple sap production. The reason we’re doing these studies is to share that with other syrup producers, within our county, within our region, within the Mid-Atlantic – everything right now, all the research, is from the northern states, Vermont, Quebec. So we want to share how our syrup season and how our trees is different from theirs.

“So we’re doing those studies, and that is one of the reasons why we’re hosting this maple workshop, August 24th and 25th. We’re hosting that here in Highland County – it is not just for Highland County citizens. It’s to everyone who can hear me right now – anyone who’s on the internet listening right now. If you’re in Ohio listening, and you want to come down to Highland County for a maple workshop, we’d love to have you.

“The workshop is going to begin on Friday evening at Laurel Point Bed and Breakfast. We’re doing a meet and greet, just kind of getting to know each other, getting to know your neighbors, getting to know local producers, networking a little bit – just very casual. And that’s from 4:00 –  7:00 pm on Friday night. We’re going to have Tim Wilmont, from Dominion & Grimm, which is a maple supply company. He’s going to come down, and he’s the subject matter expert on 3/16 tubing.

“The reason we’re having Tim as our guest speaker is he’s really interested more in the smaller producer, but most of those producers in Vermont, larger ones, have vacuum systems, and they were making a lot of syrup. He was looking for a way to keep the small producer competitive, so he came up with this smaller diameter tubing that creates its own vacuum. You don’t have to have electricity, you don’t have to have a vacuum pump to that, and it’s really good for us here, with the steep mountains and the gravity systems. So that’s one of the ways we can still be competitive with larger producers and still produce syrup, is having this smaller diameter natural vacuum system.

“Saturday morning, we begin our workshop at the Highland High School cafeteria, and we begin at 8:30 am, just to kind of come, sign in, grab a doughnut, grab a cup of coffee. And that’s where we’re going to cover most of the 3/16 and the new research that’s being done with that. We’re going to go into a lot of sanitation, total number of taps per lateral running into main lines, talk about gravity, talk about just the new research with that, and any questions that anyone has.

“At noon, we’re going to break from there and travel 10 miles west on Route 250 to Laurel Fork Sapsuckers Sugar Camp. We’re going to have a picnic lunch there, and then after that, we’re going to go out into the woods. It’s hands-on – installing tubing, putting tubing together, showing people the advantages of the gravity, if you don’t quite have full gravity, how you can work with that. We’re also going to look at how we’ve thinned our forest, how we’ve harvested our forest, and how that’s going to help with opening up the crown spacing and helping with that 3/16 tubing. So there’s going to be a lot of information, but it’s kind of not just sitting in a classroom and taking notes and writing that down. You’re going to have a classroom portion, you’re going to have a fantastic picnic lunch, and then we’re going to be out in the woods working. So I think it’s going to be a great day.

“Sponsors of this workshop are the US Department of Agriculture, the ACER Assesses Program, as well as Dominion & Grimm Maple Supply Company.

“The only cost associated with the workshop is the $15 for the picnic lunch. Otherwise, the workshop itself is completely free. We would like for people to register ahead of time, just so we can account for food, but you don’t have to – you can register Saturday morning at 8:30. If you want more information, you can give me a call – 540-290-1676, or you can e-mail me at laurelforksapsuckers@yahoo.com.”

Making maple syrup is also a family tradition, and son Mason ended the interview with an invitation.

“Laurel Fork Sapsuckers hopes to see you at our maple workshop August 24th and 25th.

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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