Mill Creek maple syrup on sale - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mill Creek maple syrup on sale

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Today is a special day for people with a sweet tooth who are also fans of locally produced products.  This year's batch of Mill Creek Maple Syrup goes on sale at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Last year's batch of syrup sold out in less than 24 hours.

The syrup is made from sap gathered from the nearby maple trees in the Charles S. Robinson Maple Grove.  Named after former park commissioner Charles Snelling Robinson, the sap has been harvested for the second time during an entire "sugaring" season. 

In 1951, the grove of 125 sugar maple trees was planted in Mill Creek Park at Rock Ridge, now known as the James L. Wick Jr. Recreation Area, on the West Side of Youngstown. The intent was to someday tap these trees when they were old enough and collect their syrup.

The sap is boiled down at a new sugar house at the James L. Wick Recreation Area. It takes 40-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup and each syrup bottle is individually labeled and hand-numbered

The Sugar House was constructed this spring by volunteers from the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association. Donors to the project include The Youngstown Foundation, Gelbman Foundation, J. Ford Crandall Foundation, Mill Creek MetroParks, The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, USDA, 4th Ward funds from Mike Ray, and the Home Savings Foundation.

On Saturday, May 3 at 1 p.m., volunteers from the Mill Creek Maple project and the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) will host a special "Mmm-mmm Maple Syrup" event at the Sugar House. PLYMC Librarians will host a story time for kids, and Mill Creek Maple volunteers will be on hand with syrup samples to taste.

The collaborative partnership between the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association and Mill Creek MetroParks took shape in fall of 2012 when MetroParks staff was approached by several members of the neighborhood group. Their idea was to tap some of the maple trees in the grove, and create maple syrup that could be sold as a fundraiser to benefit both the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association and Mill Creek MetroParks.

Proceeds from syrup sales will go to the Children's Play Area at the Wick Recreation Area.

Two members of the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association spearheaded this project. Paul Hagman and John Slanina attended classes to learn the maple sugar-making process from the ground up, along with the food handling requirements necessary for public sale of the product.
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