Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 06, 1995, Image 62

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    Bi4-Lancatt«r Fanning, Friday, January 6, 1995
Love Of Maple Keeps This Family Stick
Bradford Co. Correspondent
SYLVANIA (Bradford Co.)
The sweet aroma of maple syrup
often fills the air at the farm of
Lawrence and Genevieve Rolo
son, whether it’s early spring,
when the sap is collected and
boiled down to the thick, amber
syrup, or throughout the year when
the family is busy turning extra
syrup into candy, cream, brittle or
Their maple products and syrup
will again be part of the displays at
the Farm Show to promote the pro
ducts and educate people about
Pennsylvania maple syrup. They
also enter their products in the
“Over the years, no matter
where we are, someone will come
along and say, ‘Where out of Ver
mont did you get this Pennsylvania
maple syrup? I didn’t know Pen
nsylvania made maple syrup,’”
said Lawrence, with a chuckle.
Pennsylvania is, in fact, one of
the top producers of maple syrup in
the United States.
The Rolosons have been exhi
biting at the Farm Show since the
early 1960 s and have won numer
ous awards for their products.
“As far as our exhibiting of
maple products in the farm show,”
said Lawrence, “we started by
sending a little down in the associ
ation exhibit. And then if there was
some (product) they didn’t need
for the exhibit, someone from the
extension service would take that
gallon or half gallon and enter it in
the competition. That’s how we
started. After a year or two, we
thought we might as well plan
when we’re making syrup, to make
sure we save a sample of our good
grade to enter in the competition.”
In the 30 years since, the Rolo
sons have entered products in
almost all the categories from syr-
Genevieve Roloson prepares to pour the maple candy
Into molds. To make the candy, she heats the syrup to 30
degrees above the boiling point of water and then allows It
to cool to about 185 degrees. Here the syrup flows from the
stainless steel “pig M Into a stainless steel bin, where It Is
stirred with an auger. When the syrup starts to lose Its
gloss, It is ready to pour Into the rubber molds' where It
up to sugar to baked goods made
with maple products.
Besides entering products in the
competition, the Rolosons also
help with the Pennsylvania Maple
Council’s stands in the food court
and around the large arena where
show goers can buy maple cotton
candy, maple syrup sundaes, and
soft maple yogurt.
The sweet maple products start
when sugar maple trees are tapped
in late February. Sap is collected
until early April.
All the sap from the family’s
3,500-4,000 taps is boiled down to
syrup immediately and stored in
30-gallon drums. The family also
buys sap from another 3,000 taps
to boil into syrup.
As orders come in throughout
the year, the syrup is bottled or
turned into products.
In recent years they’ve been
only able to gather about 'A pint of
sap per tap. In better years they
have been able to gather over one
quart per tap. The sap flows from
the trees through rubber tubes,
where it is collected in tanks. Then
the Rolosons collect the sap and
take it to their sugarhouse where it
is boiled. Plain sap is about 2.3 per
cent sugar and it takes about 40
gallons of sap to make one gallon
of syrup.
“The fresher the sap, the fresher
the syrup,” said Lawrence. “We
have three evaporators and we may
make two or three different grades
of syrup at one time.”
Roloson blames the smaller
harvest on a combination of
“The weather hasn’t been right,
said Lawrence. “Some of it is, of
course, from the stress on the
maple trees. They don’t have the
sugar content that they should
have. There’s been a lot of pest
damage from the gypsy moth and
the pear thrip and the Elm Span-
worm. All these work on leaves,
and if the tree isn’t healthy, it
won’t produce like it did in the
To protect the trees, the Rolo
sons have cut down on the number
of taps per tree.
“Some areas are shifting their
load from one sugarbush to
another. They might tap one sugar
bush this year and another next
year, giving the trees a chance to
grow back,” said Roloson. “We go
along with what nature provides
Generally a tree should be 10-12
inches in diameter before it can be
tapped once. That takes about 40
years of growth in a woodloL
Like many maple producers in
the Endless Mountains Maple Syr
up Producers Association, die
Rolosons are upholding a tradition
started many, many years ago.
‘The operation’s been in the
family for over 100 years,” said
Lawrence. “My great grandfather
moved into the area in the 1880 s
and from there it’s been a family
affair for a good many years.”
At first the family made only
enough syrup for their own use and
for neighbors. But when his father
took over, he started making a little
more to sell or barter for products
they needed.
‘They’d make up some maple
sugar and sell it down at the local
store for other kinds of things like
other kinds of sugar or butter or
flour or whatever they’d need,”
said Lawrence.
They didn’t start selling the
maple syrup itself until the 19305.
“At that time, we’d buy tin cans
at the local hardware for $. 15 each.
Now they’reuptosl.7s each. And
the syrup sold for $.73 to $1 per
gallon. Now the price for a gallon
in $3O and up,” he said.
Genevieve, Lawrence’s wife of
50 years, admits that she had never
had experience making maple syr
up until she married him, but now
is a skilled maple product maker.
“It takes' about a gallon and a
half of syrup to make eight pounds
of candy,” explained Genevieve.
“There’s a knack to (candy mak-
Scooper Bowl To Benefit
Children With Cancer
HARRISBURG (Dauphin Co.)
The (hud annual Farm Show
“Scoopcr Bowl” will be held Sun
day, January 8, from 11 a.m. to S
p.m., on the second level of the
northeast building of the Pennsyl
vania Farm Show Complex.
The ice cream “Scoopcr Bowl”
features an all-you-can-eat ice
cream festival with entertainment
by the Penn State Nittany Lion
and a media ice cream making
Proceeds from the event will
benefit children with cancer and
their families through the Four
Diamonds Fund of the Hershey
Medical Center. The cost to enter
the “Scooper Bowl” will be $3 for
adults and $2 for children. Ad
vance tickets will be sold on
Saturday of the show for $2. Tick
ets are available by contacting the
Four Diamonds Fund at (717)
“Scooper Bowl” will feature a
variety of frozen dairy products
including ice cream and novelties
such as ice cream sandwiches. The
one-time donation to enter the
“Scooper Bowl” area allows visi
tors to enjoy all of the ice cream
ng To 100-Year Trad
Genevieve and Lawrence Roioson enjoy bites of their
homemade maple candy.
ing). No matter how long you’ve
done it, you still don’t do it right
sometimes. 1 have made it any
time, rain or snow or whatever, and
when it’s a nice, clear day, it does
make better candy.”
Today the Rolosons sell their
products to friends and neighbors
and pedal their products at local
flea markets and shows. They also
sell to brokers at a wholesale price
who resell the product at retail.
The syrup business was at one
time a second career for the Rolo
sons who ran a 500-acre dairy
farm. About three years ago they
they can eat.
the Four Diamonds Fund raises
approximately 99 percent of their
funds from community organiza
tions and events. Annually, the
Fund supports over 3SO children
with cancer.
Through these donations and
other funding, the Fund provides
one hundred percent coverage of
hospital bills not covered by fami
ly insurance. Additional monies
from the Fund are used to support
programs at the Medical Center
including children’s cancer re
The Fund was created to pro
vide families with support for the
tremendous financial burden dur
ing a child’s hospitalization,
A special media ice cream mak
ing contest will be held at noon
during the “Scooper Bowl.” Parti
cipants will create their own re
cipes and then hand-crank their re
Flavors for this year’s contest
include “Millersburg Malted
Munchie.” "WINK’s Kitchen
Sink Surprise” and “Big Scoop.”
In addition, media personalities’
flavors will be made by a profes-
sold their cows and gave up all but
120 acres.
In their lifetime of making syr
up, the Rolosons have seen many
“We’ve gone from buckets to
pipeline and from the horses to the
tractor to the tanks,” he said.
They have also passed the tradi
tion on to their children and grand
children who all turn out to help at
“sugarin’ time.”
“That’s the only way the opera
tion can carry on is to have the help
turn out when it’s needed,” said
sional ice cream manufacturer so
that “Scooper Bowl” visitors can
choose their own favorites.
Pennsylvania ice cream com
panies will be donating their pro
duct and personnel for the event.
Each company will have its own
booth for product sampling. Parti
cipants include Coleman's Ice
Cream, of Lancaster; Pike’s
Dairy, of Uniontown; Hershey
Creamery Company, of Harris
burg; Jack &. Jill Ice Cream Com
pany, of Bensalem; and Turkey
Hill Dairy Inc., of Conestoga.
Pennsylvania’s ice cream in
dustry is the second largest in the
country. The abundant supply of
fresh cream and milk makes Penn
sylvania an excellent location for
ice cream manufacturing.
Pennsylvania’s Dairy Promo
tion Partners - the American Dairy
Association and Dairy Council,
Mid East UDIA, and Pennsylva
nia Dairy Promotion Program -
have been collectively promoting
dairy products on behalf of the
state’s dairy farmers since 1989.
For further information about
the ice cream “Scoopcr Bowl” or
the media ice cream making con
test. call (717) 787-6903.