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Book Data

ISBN: 9781603583978
Year Added to Catalog: 2013
Book Format: Paperback
Book Art: Full-Color Throughout
Dimensions: 8 x 10
Number of Pages: 344
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green
Release Date: October 4, 2013
Web Product ID: 759

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The Sugarmaker's Companion

An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup from Maple, Birch, and Walnut Trees

by Michael Farrell

"Mike Farrell's The Sugarmaker's Companion should be on every maple producer's bookshelf. Along with the North American Maple Producers Manual and resource notebooks from Steve Childs, it is an essential reference resource. It contains a substantial amount of information not found elsewhere, especially marketing ideas, novel products, economic analyses, and creative ideas for expanding markets for pure maple products. Topics that are covered elsewhere receive updated treatment. Difficult concepts are explained well with attractive illustrations. The author's enthusiasm for this engaging business is displayed through an easy-to-read conversational style containing many personal anecdotes and opinions. There is a good amount of firsthand information from many hours spent in the woods, in the sugarhouse, and involving his community in enriching their lives with maple. Mike's positive point of view and creative ideas will encourage sugarmakers to engage a broader audience of potential customers."

Brian Chabot, professor, Cornell University

The Sugarmaker’s Companion is the comprehensive guide small-and large-scale syrup producers have been waiting for in their quest to create a profitable business model. Michael Farrell documents the untapped potential of American forests and shows how sugaring can turn a substantial profit for farmers while providing tremendous enjoyment and satisfaction.

Farrell, sugarmaker and director of the Uihlein Forest at Cornell University, incorporates the wisdom of traditional sugarmaking with the value of modern technology (such as reverse-osmosis machines and vacuum tubing). His balanced view of the industry offers a realistic picture of how modern technology can be beneficial—economically and environmentally.

The first book of its kind, The Sugarmaker’s Companion includes:

  •  A focus on maple syrup as a healthy, local, sustainably produced alternative to corn syrup and other highly processed artificial sweeteners;
  • Discussions about organic certification, sugarhouse registration, and the new international grading system;
  • Information on marketing to create a profitable business model based on scale, interest, access, and more;
  • Detailed analyses of the economics of buying and selling sap;
  • Information on ways to process and market other tree saps, including birch and walnut;
  • Ways to enhance diversity in the sugarbush and interplant understory crops for value-added products such as ginseng, goldenseal, and mushrooms; and,
  • An economic analysis of utilizing maple trees for syrup or sawtimber production.

In addition, readers and sugarmakers will learn plenty of practical, how-to skills, such as:

  • If, and on what scale, syrup production is right for them;
  • How to find trees for tapping;
  • The essentials of sap collection;
  • The art and science of sugarmaking;
  • How to build community through syrup production; and,
  • Valuable information on ecological forest management and value-added products.

Appealing to foresters, organic farmers with woodlands, homesteaders, preppers, permaculture enthusiasts, and, of course, sugarmakers, this book is applicable to a wide range of climates and regions, and is sure to change the conversation around syrup production and prove invaluable for both home-scale and commercial sugarmakers alike. This is a unique guide to making an integrated sugaring operation, interconnected to the whole-farm system, woodland, and community.


About the Author

Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell serves as the director of Cornell University's Uihlein Forest, a maple syrup research and extension field station in Lake Placid, NY. There he taps approximately 5,000 maples, 600 birch trees, and a couple dozen black walnut and butternut trees every year. He has authored more than fifty articles on maple syrup production and forest management and often presents to maple producer and landowner organizations. Michael earned his bachelor's in economics from Hamilton College, his master's in forestry from SUNY-ESF, and his PhD in natural resources from Cornell University. ...

View Michael's full profile page >





Price: $39.95
Format: Paperback
Status: Available to Ship
Ships: Next day


Online for US Orders Only
International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email

Michael Farrell's Upcoming Events

  • Michael Farrell at 2014 Partners in Community Forestry National Conference
    2014 Partners in Community Forestry National Conference, Charlotte NC
    November 5, 2014, 12:00 pm
  • Michael Farrell at the 2014 Weston Price Conference
    Weston Price Wise Traditions Conference, Indianapolis IN
    November 7, 2014, 12:00 pm

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