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Sugar Valley Charter School to Host Maple Syrup Workshop This Weekend in Loganton | News, Sports, Jobs

PROVIDED PHOTOS Heath Run maple sap is collected in a large container on their property.


LOGANTON – Imagine it.

Sunday morning.

Coffee is getting ready. The bacon is frying. And on the griddle, homemade buttermilk pancakes.

When returned to your plate, they are perfect.

Golden brown, topped with real butter, and the only thing to add before digging is the syrup.

You now have a choice to make.

Are you going to slather them in store-bought high-fructose corn syrup that’s been tinted with artificial caramel coloring, or the ultra-pure gift from heaven – maple syrup from Pennsylvania?

You know the correct answer.

It’s maple syrup. It’s still maple syrup.

If you want to learn more about sugar and maybe get inspired to bleed a few trees, Sugar Valley Rural Charter School is hosting a Maple Syrup Workshop with Chris Nicholas and Heath Run Maple Products this Saturday, January 22. at school from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Locally produced maple syrup is readily available here in central Pennsylvania and can be purchased at most farmers’ markets or area stores, but the process behind obtaining the sweet delight from the tree at the table is really something.

In fact, most people would be surprised to learn that it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make the finished product of one gallon of maple syrup.

And that gallon of maple syrup isn’t just packed with weeks of footwork in the cold February winds, it’s also packed with nutrients.

According to the USDA website, “Maple syrup is rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Vitamins B2, B5, B6, niacin, biotin and folic acid are present in maple syrup.

Produce maple syrup, or “sweeten” is a growing hobby in the United States. But for some, like Sugar Valley native Chris Nicholas, it’s both an income and a way to educate people about caring for the environment.

Nicholas and his wife, Susan, are the owners of Heath Run Maple Products in Ulysses. The couple live in Potter County with their three children, Madelyn, 15; William, 14; and Henry, who is 11 years old.

A true family business, the whole gang is involved.

“Will and Henry help a few out in the woods. I also have another guy who helps me when I need it, but he’s laid off during the winter. I do most of the woodworking and cooking stuff, and Susan and Maddy help make the value-added products like maple candy, maple cream, maple sugar, and popcorn at the maple caramel. Everyone helps sell during the year at events like the Penn’s Cave Antique Machinery Show,” Chris explained.

Even pets help.

“We have four dogs and they all spend time in the woods with me while we work. Our lab Katie is 12 so she only goes out occasionally, but our blue tick dog Luna, our beagle Rose and our mixed breed S’mores, often stay with me. They like to be in the woods and to walk and play outside.

Chris is a forester by trade and is a strong believer in working forests, which are woodlands that provide a variety of benefits to society and cover three areas: environmental values, economic values ​​and social values. Landowners who realize these values ​​are more likely to conserve forests, as forests, and not develop them, and logging a maple line fits perfectly into this trifecta.

The family dabbled in sugar farming in 2011 and produced a gallon of syrup from 40 trees. Eleven years later, Chris is happy to say they have truly honed their craft and increased their output.

“We have 3,000 taps this year,” he said with a smile. “But in the future, when we are done, we hope to reach 6000-7000. Maybe even a little more if we have the trees.

Nicholas, who grew up in Sugar Valley and earned a degree in forestry from Penn State, is happy to come “back home.”

“I hope to give people general information about maple syrup. I want to teach people that there is a lot of science used in syrup production and also how they can make it themselves on a small scale with just a few trees,” he said. “It’s family friendly and fun to do with your kids and the end product is really good too.”

Absolutely.

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