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Winter maple schools planned at three north country sites

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Maple producers will have an opportunity to learn more about their craft at sites in Croghan, Gouverneur and Brushton over the next month.

“It’s a great time of the year for maple producers to catch up on the latest research and education,” said Michele E. Ledoux, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County.

A session geared toward small and beginning producers will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at the American Maple Museum in Croghan and will cost $5 per person to attend.

The regular winter maple school, which has been held in Lewis County since 2006, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 19, also at the museum. The cost will be $15 for participants who preregister and $20 for walk-ins.

Workshops will be offered on food safety, labeling, grading, vacuum systems, forest management, granulated maple sugar, planning a maple business, pricing, marketing, walnut and birch syrup production and growing mushrooms.

About 24 people attended last year’s beginner workshop, while roughly 50 took part in the maple school, Mrs. Ledoux said.

“We certainly can take more,” she said. “We’ve already got people signing up. People are definitely interested.”

Lewis County maple schools typically have been held in Lowville, but the venue was changed this year to give people a chance to visit the Maple Museum and offer a different atmosphere for participants and presenters, Mrs. Ledoux said.

The maple school session in Croghan will feature not only presenters from area extension offices and the maple industry, but also representatives from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, she said.

A maple school session also will be held at Gouverneur High School starting at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 26. The cost will be $15 for adults and $5 for youths ages 5 to 21.

Workshop topics will include backyard and beginner sugarmaking, value-added maple products, woodlot management, using GPS and marketing and pricing of maple products.

And the inaugural Franklin County Maple Producers School and Trade Show will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 2 at Brushton-Moira Central School in Brushton, with registration to begin at 7:15 a.m. The cost will be $20 for preregistered attendees and $30 at the door.

Workshop topics will include syrup production, equipment, maple tubing, sugarbush thinning, filtering, canning, making value-added maple confections, buying and selling, licensing, tax assessment, stainless steel welding and wholesaling and direct marketing.

“The Northern New York maple schools represent an exceptional opportunity to learn, or learn more, about maple production from trees to table and about the sustainable forestry practices that make maple production possible,” Richard Gast, horticulture and natural resources educator at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, said in a statement.

For more information or to register for one of the sessions, call extension offices in Lewis County at 376-5270, St. Lawrence County at 379-9192 or Franklin County at 1 (518) 483-7403.

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