“The world of maple syrup production is evolving quickly with new products coming out every year.” This statement came from a flyer advertising a November maple trade show combined with maple educational classroom presentations; sustaining your maple forest, making maple extra value confections, getting started in maple production, marketing, using the newer more efficient equipment, etc.
You have missed this opportunity, except for a dozen or so Somerset County producers who attended, but more of these opportunities will be along and will be well worth your while to attend. Watch your Maple Digest for notices.
But good news, we have in Somerset County, three maple equipment dealers, along with the annual association can order project, who can show you many of these new innovations, along with the tried and true stuff, and help you select which are the best for your maple operation.
Located in the southern part of the county is Henry Brenneman, well known to long time maple producers, who has been especially helpful in assisting first time tubing users in laying out their systems. Brenneman also handles bulk syrup purchases and sales. He is always willing to help and advise as are all the older producers. They are happy to answer your questions and tell you how they handled similar situations and what, from experience, they recommend.
In the central part of the county, near Geiger, is a relatively new dealer, although a long time mapler, Mike Lynch. He is affiliated with the LaPierre Co. and because of this local dealership can get you face to face help with representatives from the company.
Mike, along with the other dealers, attends the trade and educational events; he even demonstrates there and can pass on extra value product information.
Further north, along Huckleberry Highway and close to Reels Corner, is Jerome Hess who handles Sunrise Maple equipment. He recently held an open house at his camp and business place to introduce his new venture.
All this tells us that maple is big and getting bigger in the area. Recall that in our grandparents’ time maple sugar was going out of the county by train car loads because white sugar was tough to come by? Every farm had a camp with hand-hewn keelers stacked in it for the upcoming season.
Then cane sugar became readily available, slashing the market value of maple sugar. Duane Walker of the Quecreek area remembers one of his regular chores being to chop up a wooden keeler each morning to start a kitchen stove fire. Can you see the antique money going up in flames?
Now, maple is not a necessity, but a specialty, the “in” gift around the world and the “cleanser” of choice in some health food venues!