SWEET LESSONS ...

Schoolyard Sugaring Contest

4-Hers experienced the unique process of transforming sap into syrup

Crown Maple Group. Photo by Cassie Messina.

MILLBROOK, N.Y. — During the month of March, Dutchess County 4-H’ers participated in the Schoolyard Sugaring Contest. This educational event, organized by New York Agriculture in the Classroom in partnership with the New York State Maple Foundation, provided 4-H’ers with the real life experience of the process of transforming sap into syrup.

Youth gathered at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Millbrook on Friday, March 3rd for a reading of Sugar on Snow, written by Nan Parson Rossiter. Following the reading, the group examined fresh sap, sap that had been recently put on to boil, and watched the sap turn to syrup at the critical temperature point of 219 degrees Fahrenheit. Following the boiling, youth used their newly acquired knowledge of the practices associated with syrup production to partake in a photo sequencing activity. Best of all, youth compared pure maple syrup to other syrup products made with high fructose corn syrup through a blind taste test, and discussed the differences between the two products and the health benefits of eating real maple syrup!

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County partnered with Crown Maple at Madava Farms in Dover Plains, New York to offer youth a first-hand experience with commercial maple syrup production. Crown Maple is one of the top maple syrup producers in the country and the 4-H’ers were treated to a full tour of their facility, explaining the syrup producing process and what makes Crown Maple unique as well as a maple syrup and sugar tasting.

Syrup produced during the program will be submitted to New York Agriculture in the Classroom for evaluation in May. To qualify, all samples must be within 66.0 and 68.0 brix level. Samples will be evaluated on color and taste.

For more information on the Dutchess County 4-H Youth Development Program, contact Cassie Messina at (845) 677 8223 ext. 108 or by email at cmm473@cornell.edu.

—Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County

For more articles out of New York, click here.

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