If you are a producer of maple syrup in Missouri, no matter how small, you can be helpful by using the Contact feature on this website to:
1) provide your complete contact information, mailing address, email, telephone number. This information will be used for building a network of Missouri syrup producers, with the goal of possibly establishing an association with annual meeting and newsletter, and notifications of upcoming events. Your phone number will not be used to market any products or service. Encourage anyone else in your area who makes syrup to visit this website and sign up.
2) provide information about your syrupmaking experience, such as your first year of tapping, how many trees tapped, typical annual production, sap collection method, type of evaporator, filtration method, etc, and whether you sell syrup. If you have a unique method of syrupmaking, I might include your profile on this website. Profiles will not include your contact information and can remain anonymous if you prefer, such as "Fred S. of Iron County taps 75 trees etc etc." Profiles of a variety of producers may encourage beginners to get involved. You might also mention how many more trees you could tap.
3) provide a photo of your operation; I might be able to include it with your profile or elsewhere on the website or in future promotions of Missouri syrup. Faces of folks working always make the photos more enjoyable.
4) Make suggestions for growing Missouri's syrup production. Do you know anyone else who makes syrup?
5) Describe any interaction you have had with health department inspectors in Missouri. I ask for this because of the lack of specific regulations regarding selling syrup in Missouri.
If you are affiliated with a farmers market, please let me know who is selling Missouri syrup and your estimate of annual demand for Missouri syrup at your market.
My goal for the network would be the eventual formation of a Missouri Syrupmakers Association, with website, newsletter, equipment swap meets, workshops, open houses and demonstrations at member sites, and a presence at the Missouri State Fair (and syrup judging). The goal is increasing production and demand for Missouri Maple Syrup (and syrup from other trees). It may be an uphill battle given the limited maple tree resources compared to that of other states, but I think it is worth a try.
I have visited or communicated with over 30 syrup producers in Missouri, most of them hobbyists, some in the business of selling. They all are willing to share information about their practices, some even have an "open house" during their production. Most are interested in growing their syrup activities. I believe the time is right to form an association. Lets build the network and make more syrup available to Missourians! Further, I encourage all syrupmakers to regularly post reports and questions about Missouri syrupmaking on the mapletrader.com Missouri tapping website during the winter.
If you have questions about syrupmaking, or you want a name of a syrupmaker near you, please use the contact page. I will try to respond promptly.
Eventually, a robust syrupmaker association will have a website with a list of members and their contact information. In absence of that, if I get inquiries through this website from someone who wants to buy Missouri Maple Syrup, I can give your contact information to them. Let me know when you contact me if you are willing to let me give your contact information to others.
There are several Missouri entities that are not involved in this initiative but they are "pushing in the same direction". Staff of the University of Missouri Extension, the Forestry Department of MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and MU Center for Agroforestry have expressed interest and encouragement, and I welcome their suggestions. Their future involvement will be necessary for applying for grants, improving communication and social media presence, and conducting workshops featuring forestry and syrupmaking experts.
The Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri, established in 1998, is one the world's leading centers contributing to the science underlying agroforestry, the science and practice of intensive land-use management combining trees and/or shrubs with crops and/or livestock.
MU Extension is a partnership of the University of Missouri campuses, Lincoln University, the people of Missouri through county extension councils, and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They have staff dedicated to forestry issues.