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St. Lawrence County maple school seeks all producers

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GOUVERNEUR — The St. Lawrence County Maple School on Saturday at Gouverneur High School will offer something for all producers, including the Amish.

“There are quite a few Amish producers. I often get a lot of questions from them,” said C. Douglas Thompson, president of the county Maple Producers Association. “Gouverneur is a relatively easy buggy driving distance for a lot of Amish. If we can serve that section of the population, good.”

The all-day school will offer classes for hobby tappers as well as larger producers. There will be activities for children.

The event, which begins with registration at 8:30 a.m., will include a bulletin board for producers to advertise equipment they want to sell or trade.

The cost is $15 for adults and $5 for anyone under age 21. Admission to the event — sponsored by Gouverneur FFA, Cooperative Extension and the maple association — includes lunch and refreshments.

Class topics include backyard sugaring, value-added products, use of global positioning systems in the sugarbush, a woodlot safety course that will focus more on general practices about cutting trees and less on chain saws, getting the most out of a wood-fired evaporator and of the type of wood used, woodlot management, quality control and product improvement, the care of reverse osmosis machines and effects of stressors, such as last summer’s drought, on maple trees.

Cornell University maple specialist Stephen Childs will give an update on industry trends, and the owners of Orebed Sugar Shack, DeKalb Junction, will have a Jenness family presentation on marketing.

For children, there will be a session on owls, during which participants may dissect owl pellets.

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