Maple Sap Collection and Syrup Processing

Certificate Course

Draft curriculum

Maple Syrup Production Seminar -  “Maple syrup in West Virginia” – an overview of the entrepreneurial opportunities.  Open to anyone, required for those planning on continuing on to the certificate course.  A four-hour  session that introduces participants to the opportunities for maple production in West Virginia  and gives them the skills to become “backyard” syrup producers, making small quantities of syrup for their own use.

Certificate Course – This is for people who are considering entering the maple business.   Offered through a partnership between the WV Department of Agriculture and Future Generations (a WV educational institution), the course tuition is $550, not including travel, or room and board.  Eligible for GI Bill funding.

Weekend sessions:  The first weekend will be held at Cedar Lakes Conference Center, and the second weekend at Parchment Valley Conference Center

Oct 14                         Working your woods before you tap.  

                        AM - class session

                        PM  - Field practice

Oct 15                        Tubing installation for sap collection

                        AM - class session

                        PM  - Field practice

October 28                 Sap to Syrup

                        AM - class session

                        PM  - Field practice


October 29        -        Economics and marketing

                        AM - class session

                        PM  - Afternoon classroom workshop

Online classes: Each week course participants will be expected to read assigned chapters from instructor Mike Rechlin’s book Maple Syrup: An Introduction to the Science of a Forest Treasure.  These chapters will prepare us for the weekend field activities and provide background on the science behind sugaring.  These will be accompanied by three mid-week synchronous online sessions where we can discuss relevant material in each chapter.

Week of Oct 8 - 13          -                 Chapter #1          -                 Getting to Know Maples

(or earlier)                         -                 Chapter #11        -                 Managing Forests For Sap

                                                -                 Chapter #10   -                  Scaling Up (p. 137-144)

                                                -               Chapter #4          -                 Tapping Out


Week of Oct 16 - 21        -                 Chapter #5          -                 Making Sugar

                                                -                 Chapter#7           -                 Sugar Sap

                                                     -                 Chapter #8          -                 The Runs


Week of Oct 23- 28         -                 Online business planning worksheets

                                                     -                 Chapter #9          -                 Sap to Syrup

                                                -                 Chapter #10    -                 Scaling Up (p. 144-151)

Mentoring/Internship  -  Over the course of the sugaring season arrangements will be made for certificate course participants to work for a day with a local syrup producer on each of the following activities:

#1        -        Tapping out

#2        -        Maintaining and repairing tubing lines

#3        -        Making Maple SyrupMaple Syrup- Mike Rechlin.jpg

#4        -        Marketing and Sales

Consultation follow-up: Each participant is given the option of 1 free on-the-ground consultation as you set up your sugaring operation.

Everyone signing up for the certificate-course will be given a copy of the

Course Text:  Maple Syrup: An Introduction to the Science of a Forest Treasure by Mike RechlinA Sugars Makers Companion- Mike Ferrell.jpg

Upon completion of the class sessions participants will be given 5 sap buckets, filters and a hydrometer necessary for them to begin backyard sugaring.

Upon completion of the 4 required mentoring sessions, which completes the course, you will be given your Certificate of completion, a copy of Mike Ferrell’s Book  “A Sugar Maker's Companion”,   and a one year membership in the West Virginia Maple Syrup Producers Association, and become eligible for the consultation.