Did you know it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup? Students throughout Allegany County have been learning about maple production during the month of March. Patricia Eshelman, Sustainable Agriculture Teacher at Bolivar-Richburg, has been tapping trees on the High School’s campus with her students for multiple seasons. During the last few years, the district has hosted a community maple day, where her students demonstrated sap boiling and made pancakes for attendees from the community. Due to COVID-19 this event will not happen in 2021, but Mrs. Eshelman’s students are continuing to tap maple trees safely as part of the class’ hands-on curriculum.
In Scio Central School, teacher Kyle Canfield tapped maple trees with his High School Science students for the first time. This project was funded by the organization NY Ag in the Classroom through Cornell University. Canfield and his colleagues have been building Scio’s Farm to School program over the last few years. In addition to a school garden, hydroponic technology, and planning a beehive, maple syrup tapping is a great addition to the district’s growing agriculture-based opportunities.
Maple syrup is a staple for New Yorkers and is one of the most versatile and delicious ways to sweeten dishes. Earlier this month, Scio Cafeteria Manager Cindy Winchell served maple syrup as part of a special meal to celebrate the season. “I was surprised to find that many students tried real maple syrup for the first time,” says Winchell. Locally produced maple syrup purchased from Jara Farms in Andover, NY was served as part of a breakfast for lunch themed meal alongside french toast, sausage, hash browns Upstate Farms milk, and apple sauce. Students in the elementary school were sent home with kid-friendly recipes and educational materials about maple syrup. Throughout the halls, posters were hung to promote the unique meal. “Over the last year, it has been difficult for our schools to serve many local products,” says Farm to School Coordinator, Cassandra Bull. “This event was a simple, delicious way to highlight a classic seasonal New York tradition and connect the classroom and cafeteria.” Support for educational agricultural activities in the classroom, cafeteria, and community, comes from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County. For more information or to be involved, please contact Cassandra Bull, CB775@cornell.edu.