Food Safety & Gov't Regulations


Vermont maple conference week kicks off

Online classes all week


WESTFORD, Vt.—The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association and the UVM Extension Service are hosting a series of online classes for sugarmakers all this week.

The classes are free.

Preregister at

Here is a rundown of the classes:

Monday, Dec. 7

5:00 - 6:00 pm
 Thinning your Sugarbush for Sap & Tree Health with Peter Smallidge
Thinning is a specific woodlot management practice to concentrate growth on the most desirable trees. This presentation reviews the benefits of thinning, how to know
if you should thin your sugarbush, potential problems from thinning, and reviews research about how thinning in NY sugarbushes affects health, tapping options, and production.

Tuesday, December 8

9:00 - 10:00 am Designing & Installing a Maple Tubing System with Adam Wild
Looking to upgrade from buckets to tubing or add vacuum? This session will cover basic tubing design and installation for both gravity and vacuum systems.

12:00 - 1:00 pm Forestry & Sugarbush Management with Mark Isselhardt
Results from a recent survey of professional foresters will include approaches and challenges to successful sugarbush management.

5:00 - 6:00 pm
Online Advertising Tools & Takeaways with Zac Smith & Mike Lannen
Advertising your business online can often seem overwhelming if you don't know where to start and what you're trying to accomplish. Learn how to set tangible goals, start small and expand your online advertising with a variety of tools.

Wednesday, December 9

9:00 - 10:00 am Sugarhouse Certification Program with David Tremblay & Arnie Piper
VMSMA is about to launch the updated Sugarhouse Certification Program. Hear from Quality Director, David Tremblay, and VMSMA Board Vice Chair, Arnie Piper, about what certification involves and how the updated process will work to benefit sugar makers. David and Arnie will talk about what they've noticed during their sugarhouse visits and how certification is tied to state and federal food safety rules.

12:00 - 1:00 pm
Resilient Businesses: Adapting to Change with Mark Cannella
Maple producers and sellers are adjusting many aspects of
their businesses to adapt to the shifting environment of the national pandemic. During this session you will hear from maple producers and business advisers that will discuss successes and considerations from shifting operations, marketing and financial approaches to remain viable. (Mark is interested in getting 1-2 producers who would be willing to contribute to this talk).

5:00 - 6:00 pm Proctor Maple Research Center Update with Tim Perkins
A review of the past year at PMRC and collection of recent findings will be presented on topics related to sap and syrup production.

Thursday, December 10

9:00 - 10:00 am Keys to High Yield with Abby van den Berg
Actual yields in many maple operations are often lower than those achievable under optimum conditions. Practices to help narrow this gap, from tree to sugarhouse, will be presented.

12:00 - 1:00 Sugarbush water quality & AMPs with Dave Wilcox
Understanding how roads and water interact in the sugarbush is important for many reasons. This presentation will provide clear understanding of how acceptable management practices used in timber harvesting can help improve water quality, reduce erosion and keep access to the sugarbush open.

5:00 - 6:00 pm Renting Taps to Enhance Viability with Mark Cannella
Can access to more taps improve your business? Do you own forest land that you’d like to lease to sugarmakers? This session will provide information on leasing taps and different approaches to setting rental rates. The new UVM Sugarbush Lease Guide and Sugarhouse Lease Guide will be presented and shared with participants.

Friday, December 11

9:00 - 10:00 am Maple Storytelling With Photography & Social Media with Chadwick Estey, Jenna Baird (Baird Farm), Abby Rouleau (The Gateway Farm)

Use photography and social media to connect with consumers and market your business. Learn some basics of photography with your smart phone and how to use your photos to engage with an online audience including: best practices for posting compelling pictures and stories on social media, what to avoid, and how to use what you have to take good quality pictures and effectively engage potential customers.

12:00 - 1:00 pm Maple Tele-medicine: What is Making my Syrup Taste Sick? with Mark Isselhardt & Henry Marckres

Most people recognize good tasting syrup and many can pick out when syrup tastes off but occasionally there is a flavor that is not easily identified. Send your samples of unidentifiable off-flavors for diagnosis (see note about how/where to send samples).

5:00 - 6:00 pm Good Flavor Factors with Joël Boutin

Descriptions of the working techniques now found in maple syrup production which have an influence on the flavor. This is the opportunity to talk specifically about flavor. It is possible to choose working techniques according to the types of flavors desired.