Increasing maple producer sales and incomes with quality value-added products
The primary focus of the first year of the project "Increasing Maple Producer Sales and Incomes with Quality Value Added Products" was to collect the best information available on making quality maple confections and begin research on improving their quality, shelf life and marketability. We have developed this information into a Maple Confections Notebook for producers with 236 pages of detailed training and directions for 25 different maple products. We were to conduct workshops to educate producers on improved methods of evaluating maple syrup for it’s suitability for making confections and procedures for making, pricing and marketing value added maple products for on site consumption. In 2006 and 2007 twenty one such workshops were held with 306 participants representing 184 maple operations and 23 Extension personal. In 2008 16 more workshops were conducted with 292 participants representing 166 farms. Currently the total number of participants stands at 598 from 350 maple farms and including 36 extension personal receiving the training. With each workshop representing an average of six hours of instruction this would add up to 3588 hours of participant instruction. Workshops have been divided into a level one workshop dealing with the basics of invert sugar in maple syrup, sugar crystal formation and the making of maple cream, granulated sugar, molded sugar and crystal coating. The second level workshop demonstrates the production of an array of maple products suitable for retail marketing and on site consumption. Currently 157 of the 598 who have attended workshops have attended the second level workshop.
Following the initial review of a number of methods of measuring invert sugar in maple syrup, research conducted at the Cornell Food Venture Center verified the use of the common diabetic meter for these measurements. The Center has also completed research on improved guidelines for maple jelly, maple syrup straws, maple sugar straws, maple marshmallow, single serve sealed maple syrup containers, maple slushies, maple smoothies, maple soft drinks, maple meringues, and 100 percent maple suckers. The Maple Confections Notebook has been developed and distributed to over 700 maple producers and Extension personal for their use and evaluation. The participating producers in 2006 and 2007represented 4388 years of maple production experience, produce 51,241 gallons of maple annually and have 238,193 taps. Producers trained in 2008 produced 58,3264 gallons of syrup from 205,026 reported taps. Of the producers who answered follow up questions four months to one year after taking the basic confection course. 32 percent claimed to be making value added products new to their business, 62percent claimed to be having better success with making value added products and 33 percent claimed to be selling an average of 8 percent more. Seventy three percent of this same group of 157 producers claimed to be practicing the testing for invert sugar with the diabetic glucose meters when making confections.
County or Regional Cornell, Penn State and Ohio State Cooperative Extension Educators who cooperated in organizing workshops:
Gary Graham, Extension Specialist, Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension Center at Wooster, OARDC Old Administration Bldg., 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, Ohio 44691, Phone (330) 263-3799
Contact: Janet L. Aldrich, Senior Extension Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, P. O. Box 184, 34570, State Highway 10, Hamden, NY 13782-0184, Tel: 607-865-6531
Contact: Contact: Jim Ochterski, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County , 480 North Main Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424, Phone: 585.394.3977, Fax: 585.394.0377
Contact: Lutie Batt, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, 401 North Main Street, Warsaw NY 14569, Phone: 585-786-2251
Contact: Michele Ledoux , Cornell Cooperative Extension Lewis County, 5274 Outer Stowe Street, P.O. Box 72, Lowville, New York 13367, Phone: 315-376-5270
Contact: Steve VanderMark, 1894 State Highway 68, Canton, NY 13617-1477, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 315-379-9192
Contact: Laurel R. Gailor, Natural Resource Educator, email@example.com, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Warren County, 377 Schroon River Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885, Phone: 518-623-3291, 518-668-4881,
Contact: JJ Schell, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie County, 173 South Grand Street, Cobleskill NY 12839, Phone: 518-234-4303
Contact: Brett Chedzoy, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County, 208 Broadway, Montour Falls, NY 14865, (607) 535-7161
Contact: Richard L. Gast, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 355 West Main St., Malone, NY 12953, Phone:(518)483-7403, FAX:(518)483-6214, email@example.com
Contact: Robert S. Hansen, D.F., Extension Educator – Forest Resources, Penn State Cooperative Extension, 701 South Fourth Street, Towanda, PA 18848-1023, (570) 265-2896, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: David L. Munsee, CCE of Chautauqua County, 3542 Turner Road, Jamestown, NY 14701, (716) 664-9502 Ext 202, (716) 664-6327 Fax, email@example.com
Contact: Marianna Quartararo, Cornell Cooperative Extension- Sullivan County, 64 Ferndale-Loomis Rd. Liberty, NY 12754, (845) 292-6180 X112
Contact: Russell Welser, Cornell Cooperative Extension Ontario County , 480 North Main Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424, Phone: 585.394.3977, Fax: 585.394.0377, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: J. Rebecca Hargrave, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County, 99 N. Broad St.,Norwich, NY 13815, 607-334-5841 x 16, 607-336-6961 – fax, email@example.com
Contact: Mike Farrell, 157 Bear Cub Lane, Lake Placid, NY 12946, Phone: 518-523-9337, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Les Ober, Geauga County Extension 14269 Claridon Troy Rd Burton,
OH 44021 Phone: (440) 834-4656
Maple Producers who hosted a workshop at their location:
Dwayne, Dennis & David Hill
Shaver-Hill Maple Farm
310 Shaver Road
Harpersfield, NY 13786
Phone 607-652-6792 FAX (607) 652-9030
Lyle and Dottie Merle
Merle Maple Farm
18 84 Route 98
Attica, NY 14011
Phone 585-535-7136 Fax (585) 535-7136
www. merlemaple. com
Arnot Research and Teaching Forest
611 County Route 13
Van Etten,NY 14889
PO Box 409 1712 Albany St
DeRuyter, NY 13052
Keith Schiebel, FFA Advisor,
Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School,
5275 St. Rt. 31, Verona, New York 13478
School: (315) 829-2520 ext. 7462 Fax: (315) 829-4465,
Ben & Judy Benjamin
Ben & Judy’s Sugarhouse
770 Beaver Creek Rd
West Edmeston, NY 13485
Maple Producer Associations who assisted with promotion:
New York State Maple Producers Association
Western NY Maple Producers Association
Chautauqua County Maple Producers Association
Wyoming County Maple Producers Association
Central Area Maple Producers Association
Chenango County Maple Producers Association
Lewis County Maple Producers Association
St. Lawrence County Maple Producers Association
Catskill Area Maple Producers Association
Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association
Through maple product research and participation in maple kitchen value added workshops, improve profits of 35 of the 50 participating maple producers by 20 percent 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 the purchase of 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.
Over 500 participants have completed an initial assessment of current practices and current value added sales when they began the program. Over one hundred and fifty have completed a second assessment about one year after taking the first workshop. The three test marketing trials have been conducted to evaluate various maple value added products.
The first milestone was to notify 600 maple producers of workshop opportunities. This was accomplished through media releases, announcement at maple meetings, maple producer association mailings and through county extension offices.
By 12 months the Extension and Food Venture Center staff was to have compiled and tested a draft set of recipes and standards for new value added maple products appropriate for on market site consumption and incorporate this into a Maple Confections Notebook.
The Center has completed research on improved guidelines for maple jelly, maple syrup straws, maple sugar straws, maple marshmallow, single serve sealed maple syrup containers, maple slushies, maple smoothies, maple soft drinks, maple meringues and 100 percent maple suckers. The Maple Confections Notebook has been regularly updated and improved to the current 4th edition and distributed to 700 maple producers and Extension personal for their use and evaluation.
The third milestone is to occur by 18 months with 50 maple producers and 5 county extension educators completing a current practices assessment and participating in one day value added kitchen workshops at one of 5 locations around NY, PA and OH.
Currently 37 workshops have been held with the 598 total participants, representing 350 maple operations and 36 Extension staff. At least 10 more will be conducted in 2009. Of these 37 workshops 27 were held in New York, three in Pennsylvania, three in Ohio, two in Wisconsin and two in Quebec. The participating producers in 2006 and 2007represented 4388 years of maple production experience, produce 51,241 gallons of maple annually and have 238,193 taps. Producers trained in 2008 produced 58,3264 gallons of syrup from 205,026 reported taps. These workshops were also run in cooperation with the New York State Farm Viability Institute.
At 20 months 12 producer volunteers are to have completed costs of production and marketing cost evaluations. At this point only 7 of the attending maple producers have completed the in-depth financial study of the impact of making and marketing value added products on their business profitability. More have agreed to participate and new producers are being solicited to participate but getting producers to share detailed financial information has been difficult.
By 22 months five cooperative sub-groups of producers from the workshops will have conducted test markets where new products were made and sold and profit evaluated at five fairs, shows or festivals. Evaluations have been conducted with 157 maple producers who initially participated in a confection workshop and after four months to one year completed the evaluation. Evaluations in 2007 showed that thirty nine percent are now making confections that are new to their business and 2008 participants claimed thirty two percent. In 2007 eighty five percent reported having greater success making maple confections that they had already been producing with 2008 participants claiming 62 percent. Sixty two percent in 2007 and thirty three percent in 2008 claimed to be selling more dollars worth of value added product in the year following the workshop. Seventy two percent in 2007 and seventy three in 2008 of those surveyed indicated that they were actually using the diabetic meters to measure the invert sugar levels in syrup and
selecting syrups for confections based on that information. The New York State Maple Producers Association state fair booth has been a site for observing the success of various maple value added products. Between 2007 and 2008 the booth received a significant exterior upgrade and added maple ice cream, maple milk shakes and maple slushies with sales increasing 50% over 2007 from about $84,000 to over $126,000.
At 25 months two hundred maple producers who did not attend the kitchen workshops will be classroom trained and have access to the recipes, standards and profit potential of the new value added products at sessions of the winter maple schools. At the 2008 New York State Maple Conference over 150 attendees attended one or more sessions where training in the use of the glucose meters was demonstrated and Confection Notebooks made available. Two of these were taught by the New York State Maple Specialist and three others were taught by confection workshop participants who had been using the information and were anxious to demonstrate it to others. The 2009 Maple Conference has four more of these sessions lined up to be taught by our program participants. Fifty participants had the same experience of being trained in making value added products by a student of this program at the 2008 Western New York Maple School. Over twenty attended a confection short course held at the 2008 Lewis County Maple School given by the NYS Maple Specialist. Over 100 were present for demonstrations and introduction to the Confection Notebook at the Leader Evaporator open house in April of 2008 where much interest was expressed in having additional confection and value added workshops scheduled.
By 30 months NY Maple Weekend participants will be evaluated for having marketed value added products on maple weekend 2008. This evaluation showed that many participants of the New York Maple Weekend need to do a better job of promoting the fact that value added products and demonstrations of making these products on Maple Weekend will be available at the open houses. Less than 40 percent featured value added products in promotional materials even though many had them available and some even were demonstrating their making.
110 Fernow Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Office Phone: 6072551658