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Locally made maple syrup sells out

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A day after "Mill Creek Maple" maple syrup went on sale, the locally made product has already sold out.

Linda Kostka, Mill Creek MetroParks Development & Marketing Director, said 300 bottles of "Mill Creek Maple" went on sale Tuesday and by Wednesday each one had been sold.  She said some people even gave more than the selling price of $12 to support the community causes.

Proceeds from "Mill Creek Maple" go to the new Children's Play Area at the Wick Recreation Area and neighborhood improvement projects surrounding Mill Creek Park through the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association.

The first bottle ever produced and a gourmet pancake feast for eight people served lakeside are still being auctioned off to raise additional funds for the community projects.  Bids close May 15 at midnight.  To make a bid go to the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association Web Site.

The locally made maple syrup was unveiled Tuesday at Judge Morley Pavilion.  It is a joint effort between the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association and Mill Creek MetroParks. 

About 20 volunteers joined together to make "Mill Creek Maple" from trees in the Rocky Ridge neighborhood's maple syrup grove in Mill Creek Park.  The trees are in the Charles Snelling Robinson Maple Grove, named after a former park commissioner, in what is now the James L. Wick Recreation Area. 

The 125 sugar maple trees were planted in 1951 with the intent of being tapped once they matured and this is the first time the sap has been harvested during an entire "sugaring" season, according to a Mill Creek MetroParks news release.  Six tons of sap was removed by hand from the trees in February and March.  The news release also states that it takes 40-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.

John Slanina, president of the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association, said the project has been in the works for a year. 

"We went on a nature hike, a few of us in the neighborhood, a year ago with Mill Creek MetroParks and discovered that in our neighborhood there was a maple syrup grove, with additional advisement we started to produce maple syrup.  It's a really hard process but we have a final product that we're very proud of to sell to the public."  

Slanina and Paul Hagman, who are both with the neighborhood association, spearheaded the effort and took classes to learn the process.  They received a grant for an evaporator, which boils the sap into syrup.

Neighbors and MetroParks staff harvested sap, supplied wood for the evaporator, boiled the sap down to syrup and bottled the syrup in batches.

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