From Forest to Fridge
Though last winter was unusually cold and snowy, Ithaca College’s Non-Timber Forest Products
class succeeded in producing more than 15 gallons of homemade maple syrup.
The class focuses on creating useful products—aside from timber—out of the natural landscape, demonstrating that there is a profitable alternative to deforestation.The course includes instruction on producing foods like honey, wild mushrooms, and of course, syrup.
More than 20 students take part in the processes, learning such things as how to sterilize the straw that feeds the mushrooms to how to measure the sugar content of the finished syrup. The class is run as a business, South Hill Forest Products
, and the finished products are sold to fund the following year’s class.
The college received a grant this fall
to explore ways to reduce the amount of energy used in the syrup production process. The grant will help provide an experiential learning opportunity for the students and a potential long-term learning lab for the regional maple syrup industry.
Watch students making maple syrup in the video below: