Students with the Agri-Business Academy from the Batavia CTE assisted in a demonstration with the FFA Mobile Maple Syrup Exhibit at Alexander Elementary Schoool this morning.
The New York FFA Mobile Maple Exhibit is an interactive display depicting all facets of the maple industry. Housed in a 28-foot trailer, visitors are offered a firsthand look at: how maple syrup was discovered; how maple sap is collected from maple trees; and how the liquid sap is then processed into pure, sweet maple syrup. The presentation concludes with a sampling of pure maple syrup and/or other maple products.
The presentation is broken into five segments, with the first being a whole-group depiction of the discovery of maple syrup. Visitors are asked to imagine a time when only Native Americans inhabited our lands and how one day the sweet, clear maple liquid was discovered coming from a maple tree. Next, participants learn about tapping a tree, whittling an old-fashioned maple spout, and using a modern tubing system to collect the maple sap.
In these segments, students may have a chance to use a bit and brace to “tap” their own maple tree and install a metal maple spout. After tapping the maple tree, participants help “collect” the sap from metal buckets. In the third portion, students become a mini-forest of maple trees and learn how gravity helps collect the maple sap using a modern plastic tubing system.
As groups enter the trailer, they view an actual scene from our school’s woodlot and imagine a winter’s day in February. Here, we demonstrate how the maple sap is processed into fresh maple syrup by viewing an actual mini maple-syrup evaporator. Learn how the maple sap is transformed from a clear liquid into a sweet, golden syrup.
Our explanations include how water is removed from the sap, how the finished product is graded, filtered and packaged, and how maple syrup is used as a food and natural sweetener. Finally, sample the sweet results of hours of work with a tasting of pure maple syrup or other maple products.
Above, Assemblyman Steve Hawley takes in the demonstration. Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer had visited the exhibit earlier.