BURLINGTON, Vt. — The 2020 Vermont Maple Conference Week, Dec. 6-11, will feature a number of informative online sessions led by maple industry experts and maple producers.
University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association (VMSMA) will host the virtual conference, which is free to attend. Daily sessions will be of interest not only to sugarmakers but also to foresters who work with maple producers and forest landowners looking to lease to a producer.
To register, go to www.vermontmaple.org/maple-conferences. Registration for each session closes 24 hours before its scheduled start time. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, contact Cory Ayotte at (802) 786-9437 by Nov. 30.
Maple Conference Week kicks off on Dec. 6 with the Maple Industry Panel, an annual panel discussion where experts discuss diverse topics ranging from tree health, sustainable syrup production and syrup quality to trends in marketing and consumer demand from local retail to international wholesale and bulk markets. This year’s panel includes Ed Fox, CEO Butternut Mountain Farm, Morrisville; Jean Lamontagne, executive director, International Maple Syrup Institute; and Dr. Abby van den Berg, research associate professor, UVM Proctor Maple Research Center.
Three interactive hour-long sessions will be offered daily from Dec. 7-11 at 9 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. These will focus on maple business management, maple industry regulations, sugarbush health, marketing and media and maple production and innovation.
All sessions will be recorded for future viewing. Topics include:
- Dec. 7: early tapping and tapping longevity strategies research, Vermont maple regulations and common issues found during product inspections, thinning the sugarbush for sap and tree health
- Dec. 8: designing and installing a maple tubing system, forestry and sugarbush management, online advertising tools
- Dec. 9: the Vermont sugarhouse certification program, adapting to change during the pandemic, UVM Proctor Maple Research Center update
- Dec. 10: keys to high yield, sugarbush water quality and acceptable management practices, leasing taps to enhance viability
- Dec. 11: using photography and social media for marketing, maple tele-medicine, syrup production techniques to influence flavor
For the maple tele-medicine session, participants may submit a 2 oz. sample of their off-flavor syrup for a panel of experts to taste and diagnose. To ensure anonymity, each sample will receive a code number, known only to the individual submitting the sample. Sugarmakers should send their sample, along with their name and contact information, to VMSMA, P.O. Box 83, Westford, VT 05494 by Nov. 23.
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