VAN ETTEN, N.Y. –– With Fall around the corner, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets have unveiled the new Arnot Maple and Teaching Laboratory located in the Arnot Forest in Van Etten, New York. A ceremony complete with tours and samples of various maple products was held at the facility at the end of July. 

With New York State’s large presence of tappable maple trees, officials have begun offering incentives for industry innovation –– the new facility in Van Etten was built with $500,000 invested by New York State back in 2018 to stimulate growth of the maple industry. As part of this goal, the new laboratory is pioneering several new kinds of maple products, like maple soda and kombucha.

After the ribbon-cutting, Richard A. Ball, New York State Agricultural Commissioner, told The Ithaca Voice, “We have some of the most amazing agricultural communities in the country, we rank in the top 10 of over 30 different commodities and today we’re here celebrating an investment in our maple industry, which is our first crop every year.”

Cornell CALS School Dean, Benjamin Houlton, stated that the research and product development conducted is expected to create at least 20 new maple products

The new facility includes several amenities for maple experimentation including now over 4000-square-feet. of space with two production lines and a full kitchen. The original facility, built in 1957, was only about 900-square-feet and was without heat. 

In addition, spanning across 4 miles of forest, there are 50 miles of tubing connected to maple trees and high-powered vacuums. This new vacuum system will allow production at extremely high rates for the industry and bring the laboratory into the future.

“It’s really great to see the investment in our future,” Ball said.

Desiree Holz is an intern at the Ithaca Voice and a rising-junior journalism student at Ithaca College. Feel free to email her with tips!