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Cornell Corner

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Cornell opens new state-of-the-art maple facility

Peter Gregg | August 12, 2021

VAN ETTEN, N.Y.—The doors are open on a new state-of-the-art maple research facility for the Cornell Maple Program.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) last month held a grand opening of the newly rebuilt Arnot Maple Research and Teaching Laboratory, which will house the first-of-its-kind new maple product development lab in the country.

Funded through $500,000 from the state budget, the laboratory is expected to foster further growth and innovation in New York’s maple industry.

The brand new 4,200-square-foot facility includes a new commercial kitchen and increased capacity for research and development of new maple products.

“Cornell’s Arnot Maple Research and Teaching facility conducts groundbreaking research that is critical to the growth of our state’s maple industry, which contributes significantly to the state’s ag economy,” said state agriculture commissioner Richard Ball. MORE ]

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5/16 vs. 3/16 no clear winner

Paul Post | May 26, 2021

SHREWSBURY, Vt.—There’s a great deal of debate and no clear consensus among sugarmakers about the benefits of 5/16-inch versus 3/16-inch tubing.

One sure thing with either system is it's absolutely essential to keep tapholes free of bacteria and yeast, which build up and reduce sap flow, resulting in lost production and revenue.

In a recent webinar, New York State Maple Specialist and Cornell Maple Program Director Aaron Wightman outlined extensive sanitation research for both types of tubing to help producers enjoy the full rewards of all their hard work and effort.

He was joined by sugarmaker Arthur Krueger of Krueger-Norton Sugarhouse in Shrewsbury, Vt. and a noted 3/16 tubing pioneer.

The trials Wightman described were conducted at Cornell’s two 7,500-tap research sugarbushes at the Arnot Forest near Ithaca, N.Y. and at Uihlein Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“We aren’t just doing our research in a Petri dish,” Wightman said. “A lot of these treatments we’ve tried on thousands of trees. These aren't hypothetical research concepts. We’ve actually tried them on a large-scale, commercial setting. So we have that experience to back up the evidence.” MORE ]

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Maximum sap 101

Paul Post | February 10, 2021

LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—More taps doesn’t necessarily mean more sap.

Some factors such as climate, elevation, tree health and size, and surrounding species composition are beyond a sugarmaker’s control.

But understanding how they impact production, and learning how to work with them, can prove quite beneficial.

This plus adhering to good tapping practices and having a well-designed system is the perfect recipe for a smooth-running, efficient and profitable operation, said Adam Wild, director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Maple Research Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. during a maple seminar last month.

Wild’s webinar, “Maximizing Production in Your Sap Collection System” was the sixth and final segment of an online introductory course for new and beginning sugarmakers.

However, the session had valuable reminders for veteran maple producers as well.

“Not every sugarbush has equal production potential,” Wild said. “If you’re not producing as much as you think you can I’m sure there’s lots of room to increase production. This is going to differ from region to region, state to state, but also can change locally.”

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Making bucks from the buddy

Aaron Wightman | January 7, 2021

VAN ETTEN, N.Y.—Does buddy syrup have potential high-value uses?

That is the subject of a new research project at Cornell University, where maple specialists are investigating a wide range of value-added options for this much maligned, late-season flavor.

Maple trees enter a period of dormancy at the end of each growing season.

This is an adaptation that allows trees to survive the cold of winter. An important aspect of that survival strategy is the management of energy reserves in the form of sugars and starches. MORE ]

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Making sugar in a vacuum

Aaron Wightman | December 15, 2020

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Grade Blending – a new calculator to get your syrup in grade

Ailis Clyne Technician, Cornell Maple Program Cornell University, Department of Natural Resources | October 7, 2020

VAN ETTEN, N.Y.—Have you ever wanted to blend two syrups of different grades to meet your customers’ needs?

The Cornell Maple Program has developed a new user friendly tool to calculate how many gallons of each syrup you would need to blend.

This calculator will only help those of you using digital light meters that give you the percentage of light transmittance (%Tc) through your syrup.

It won’t help if you use a visual kit.
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Beech syrup can add value to your operation out of pesky trees

Adam Donald Wild | September 14, 2020

LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—Love ‘em don’t hate ‘em.

You know those pesky beech trees growing so thick in your sugarbush it makes it hard to walk through and when you do, they slap you in the face? Well, we are tapping those beech trees for syrup production.

Yes, you read correctly, we are tapping American beech (Fagus grandifolia) trees at Cornell University’s Uihlein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid, NY. Since the infestation of beech bark disease throughout northern forests beech trees have been rendered to little economical value besides firewood.

By tapping the trees for sap collection, it may be possible to create value from the beech trees in your forest.
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Get Brewing with Maple Beer

Aaron Wightman, Cornell Maple Program Extension Associate | August 17, 2020

VAN ETTEN, N.Y.—How ‘bout a cold one?

As maple production continues to increase, product diversification becomes an increasingly important strategy for maintaining industry profits.

Craft beers that feature maple syrup as a prominent ingredient represent a large potential market opportunity.

The Cornell Maple Program is working with brewing experts to create guidance for the best use of maple in making high quality beers.

Brewing beer with maple syrup or sap is not a new practice. Many hobbyists and even a few commercial scale breweries have produced beers with a maple component for years.

However, with the continued growth of the craft brewing industry, the beer industry may hold untapped opportunities for sugarmakers.
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