Rochon Gets his South Hill Groove-On

When the Sugarbush was vandalized some weeks ago, one of the things that got ruined was our heavy-duty cart that we relied on to transport items to-and-from the syrup site. When Ithaca College’s president, Tom Rochon heard about this, he graciously offered to pay for a replacement. This helps us out immensely because not only are we now equipped with a new cart, but it saves us a lot of money that we can now put towards ensuring more products of the utmost quality.

So this post is dedicated to President Rochon–defender of the Sugarbush–giving a new meaning to a Presidential Sweet.

Tom Rochon. What a guy.

Can’t Keep The News Bottled Up

It’s official. As of 7pm on February 11th, our first real batch of maple syrup has been boiled, bottled, and soon to be bought!

We got 22 bottles of sweet, delicious goodness and will be selling them as soon as they are labeled.

Check out some of our photos from the indoor boil:

The screening process is more intense than auditions for a Martin Scorsese film.
Syrup business is serious…the smiles are meant to intimidate…
Bottler? I barely even know her!
Cooling racks sure are…cool.
The final product (humans sold separately).

If You’re Sappy and You Know it…Tap a Tree

Ithaca College’s sugarbush is back in action. We managed to get ourselves out of a couple “sticky” situations and are now making products like it’s 1999.

Although our first batch of sap accidentally burned to a crisp, we successfully ended our second outdoor boil last night! Right now we have about 2 gallons of sap that need to boil for a bit more in our indoor facility (so that we can control the amount of heat and carefully measure the sugar content of the sap).

Group of students using sandpaper to clean our badly burned pan.
(it now looks brand-spankin-new)

We are also expecting our first batch of oyster mushrooms to fruit any day now.

AND, tomorrow (February 10th), a few members of the class will be attending a bee seminar, presented by the Finger Lakes Beekeeping Club to prepare us for our upcoming bee season. If you would like to know more about this event, click here!

That’s all for now, but bee prepared for more updates!

Sad News…We Need Your Help!

This morning, some of our team went out to the sugarbush to find that the site had been vandalized. The metal hooks holding up the buckets were cut, with buckets lying on the ground, and the taps were pulled out of some 40 trees and stolen.

Luckily we had enough spare parts to re-tap all of the trees and great team of people that came to help get things back to normal. We’re still going to have our first boil this weekend as planned!

One of the vandalized trees, with a red arrow pointing to a hook that was clipped off. Sap running down the tree 😦
Photo Credit: Ireyena
Close-up of a clipped hook.
Photo Credit: Ireyena

Now we’re just working on getting the word out about the vandalism and planning on talking to neighbors in the area to let them know and see if we can get any information. If you have any information about the incident, please contact Ithaca College Public Safety. They have an anonymous tip line you can call at (607) 274-1060. Thanks for your support!

And if you want to check out our interview about this incident with the Ithacan, click here!