MONTOUR FALLS, N.Y. — From maple sugaring to fruit production to growing hops, Schuyler County has a profound agricultural story, and it’s a story that’s just as strong today as it was 100 years ago.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County and the Schuyler County Historical Society are partnering in 2019 to tell the stories, putting together a series of free monthly talks about past agricultural endeavors and what’s happening in those areas today.
“Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage, Conversations About Agriculture Across Time” launches on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Valois-Logan-Hector Fire Department with a pancake supper paired with insights into maple sugaring in the county. The supper will be presented by the Hector Library and will feature maple syrup from Cornell University’s Arnot Teaching and Research Forest, located in the southeastern corner of Schuyler.
Speaker Aaron Wightman oversees operations at the Research Sugarbush in the 4,200-acre Arnot Forest. The 6,000-tap maple operation serves as the primary research and education resource for the Cornell Maple Program.
“The collaborative effort with the Schuyler County Historical Society has been extraordinary,” Phil Cherry, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler, said. “I think we’ve come up with an exciting and informative series of talks that the entire community will find interesting.”
The pancake supper, which will also offer eggs and sausage, will begin at 5:30 p.m., with serving until 7 p.m. The supper will benefit the Hector Library. The cost will be $8 for ages 10 and up, $5 for ages 5-10 and free for under 5.
Wightman’s talk will begin at 6 p.m. Attendees do not have to participate in the supper to enjoy the talk.
“The Historical Society is excited by the opportunity to work with Cooperative Extension in the true spirit of collaboration to focus on agricultural production in Schuyler County,” Paul Bartow, president of the Historical Society board, said. “This series of convivial presentations will call up our history of agriculture and correlate it with the thriving
agribusinesses of today. Taken in its totality, the conversations that unfold from these presentations will reveal the dynamic history and culture of our shared geography and may inform a path to the future.”
The eight sessions of “Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage” will be hosted across the county.
The March 21 talk will be at Sunset View Creamery in Catharine. Owner Carmella Hoffman will discuss the region’s current cheesemakers, and Heather O’Grady Evans, an organizer of the annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival at Sunset View, will discuss the area’s cheesemaking history. The free session, which will include a cheese tasting, will begin at 6 p.m.
Other “Harvesting Schuyler’s Heritage” subjects will be fruit production in April, forestry in May, honey production in June, grapes and wine in July, salt production in September and hops growing in October.
“Our hope is that this series will remind us all of the rich history and strength of our agricultural heritage and the promise for continued growth and success in the future. We thank Cornell Cooperative Extension for an award of grant funds to help defray the costs of putting this on,” Cherry said.
Watch local media for details about each session, or call Cooperative Extension at (607) 535-7161 or the Historical Society at (607) 535-9741.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County
Schuyler County Historical Society
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