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Press Releases

Maple Mavens Mike Farrell and Christine Tailer Headline 2015 National Maple Syrup Festival Dinner Series, March 5-6

February 4, 2015

Mike Farrell and Christine Tailer, arguably two of the most fascinating speakers in the maple sugar world today, will headline a dinner series offered as part of the National Maple Syrup Festival in Brown County, Ind.

On March 5-6, Farrell and Tailer will share their tapping tales, sugaring adventures, and much more while guests dig in to a dinner featuring maple-based dishes and drinks. While Farrell and Tailer may have completely different backgrounds and stories to tell, both are true maple mavens and masters at the craft of sugaring. Both speakers are also authors who continue to live a lifestyle that celebrates the great outdoors and everything maple to this day.

On Thursday, March 5, festival guests can enjoy the off-beat story of Christine Tailer, a former full-time trial lawyer who gave it all up to live “off the grid” in a solar powered cabin in Brown County, Ohio. After her four children left their urban nest in Cincinnati, Tailer and her husband decided it was time to get back to the basics.

Leaving city life behind, the Tailers moved to a rural area in Brown County, Ohio where they built a 388-square-foot cabin, which is heated with a wood stove and powered by 12 solar panels and a windmill tower they built as well. On the 63 acres that make up their Straight Creek Valley Farm, Tailer raises honey bees, goats, rabbits, chickens, tends a large chemical-free garden, and enjoys learning about the area’s wild edibles, including the farm’s maple trees.

It was on the farm that Tailer’s enthusiasm for maple sugar production grew as she and her husband built a sugar shed, learned to identify sugar maples, as well as how to collect sap and make maple syrup—something that she continues to this day, along with writing books, newspaper columns, and practicing law part-time all from the convenience of her secluded cabin. Hear Tailer’s personal experiences and learn how she has progressed from maple novice to maple master. Tailer will also discuss her transition from urban to rural life and what it is really like living “off the grid.”

Friday’s featured speaker has a different story to tell. On March 6, Dr. Mike Farrell, author and Director of Cornell University’s Sugar Maple Research and Education Center, will share the inside scoop on the tricks of the trade. Farrell, who has dedicated his life and career to learning everything maple, is a true industry expert and real-life “Superman of Syrup.”

As the Director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Forest, a maple syrup research and extension field station in Lake Placid, New York, Farrell taps approximately 5,000 maples, 600 birch trees and a couple dozen black walnut and butternut trees every year. Farrell has also authored dozens of articles on maple syrup production and forest management, is a featured speaker at maple producer and landowner conferences, and has recently written “The Sugarmaker’s Companion,” a must-have guide for maple enthusiasts.

Introducing Farrell on Friday is Dave Hamilton, President of the Indiana Maple Syrup Association and the North American Maple Syrup Council. Friday’s dinner and speaker are made possible by Rutherford Sugar Camp, owned by Hamilton. Rutherford Sugar Camp will also be providing pure Indiana maple syrup for the dinners.

Both nights dinner will be prepared by Chef Laura Jaehnke of Hotel Nashville, who has created customized multi-course meals for Brown County visitors for over 20 years. All courses will be “maple infused” and will feature maple-based dishes. Beer pairings handcrafted by local Big Woods Brewing Company will also be offered.

The National Maple Syrup Festival dinner series will be held at the new Brown County History Center.
On both March 5 and 6, the evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a reception at the History Center followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Speaking will begin at 7:15 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $35 per person, including the reception, dinner presentation, and a special maple gift. Beer pairings are an additional $7.50 per person. Tickets are available online at http://nationalmaplesyrupfestival.com/dinner-series-speakers/ or can be purchased in person at the Brown County Visitors Center. Seating is limited to 125 guests.

Several other activities and events will be occurring throughout the county and within the Village of Nashville as part of the National Maple Syrup Festival including tree tapping, live sugaring demonstrations, historical reenactments, a culinary competition, a pancake breakfast, family fun, the sale of maple-related goods and foods, and much more.

For more information on the dinner series, featured speakers, and other activities as part of the National Maple Syrup Festival, please visit nationalmaplesyrupfestival.com and be sure to make plans to attend March 5-8.

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