- Miscellaneous: maple
- Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns, market study, value added
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities
Maple is a native natural product connected to sustainable forest management. Maple history and its connection to the rural landscape give maple products tremendous synergistic advantages for improving the northeast rural economy. First, Extension and Cornell Food Venture Center Staff will complete a recipe search for maple value added products focusing particularly on products that have the potential for on site consumption at fairs, farmers markets, shows and festivals. Staff will conduct product testing, and evaluate potential tools new to the maple industry for quality testing. This information will be added to Maple-Value Added Product Guidelines currently being developed in New York. Second, staff will conduct 5 Maple Value Added Workshops at strategic locations in NY, PA and OH with at least 10 maple producers and one county extension educator participating at each. These workshops focus on training maple producers to make new maple value added products that are suited to market site consumption, coupled with testing their products against quality standards established in the Maple Value Added Product Guidelines. Third, recruit 12 participants to conduct production and marketing cost evaluations to assist in pricing and profit evaluation of these products for on site consumption. Fourth, recruit cooperative sub-groups from the workshops to conduct test marketing where these new products will be made and sold and profits evaluated at five fairs, shows or festivals. Finally, present the recipes, standards and profit potential of these products to 200 producers at sessions of the winter maple schools in 2008.
Performance targets from proposal:
Through maple product research and participation in maple kitchen value added workshops, improve profits of 35 of the 50 participating maple producers by 20% by expanded retail sales of new value-added maple products to be consumed on site at fairs, farmers markets, shows and festivals.
Maple producers need to sell more of their syrup as value added products. While a significant portion of maple products are sold at fairs, farmers markets, shows, open houses and festivals, there is a serious lack of maple products designed for customers to consume directly at these settings. This project seeks to increase the diversity, quality and profitability of maple production without tapping an additional tree, making another trip to the sugar bush, or purchase major equipment. Profitable maple sugar making leads to sustainable forests, managed to provide consistent farmer income rather than destructive harvest giving the farm family a one time enhancement. Maple confections are natural healthy sweeteners and flavor ingredient. Making maple production a more profitable enterprise can help farmers meet family financial expectations.
Participants will complete an assessment of current practices and current value added sales when they begin the program and will complete a second assessment after the test marketing exercises. The five test marketing sites will be monitored for all costs and incomes to determine the profitability for producers marketing these new maple value added products. The 12 producers recruited for economic analysis will provide a final economic evaluation of how the financial situation has changed in their operations following the training and test marketing.