Check Out the Tollgate Camp Video!

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Meet our Staff and Volunteers May 2021

Richard has been a member of the MSU Tollgate maple syrup volunteer team for many years. The farm relies on Richard and Wayne Watson to perform the lion’s share of the maintenance of the tubing system that conducts sap from Tollgate’s 250 tapped maple trees and the collection of sap during the maple sugaring season. During the season, you will see Richard going back and forth between the woods and the sugar shack, collecting sap from the tanks and then transferring it into the large collection tanks outside the shack. Keeping the tubing from the trees to the tanks in good shape also requires constant attention: repairing damage from adverse weather, falling branches, and pesky squirrels and their ever-gnawing teeth. Richard performs his work with a great sense of good humor and dedication to the project, his fellow volunteers, and the farm. The maple project would not be such a huge success without the dedication of Richard and his fellow maple sugaring volunteers. Thank you for all you do for the Farm Richard!

Nicole is thrilled to have recently joined the Tollgate team as Multi-Media Communications Assistant and Farm Apprentice. Her current focus is producing videos for Tollgate educational programs and Detroit Public Television about plants & other happenings on the farm. Come mid-May, she will spend half of her time out in the field with the CSA crew as a Farm Apprentice! 🌱👩🏻‍🌾Nicole recently ventured out to the Metro-Detroit Area from Rockland County, New York (not NYC & not quite Upstate NY, but right in between). Last year during the pandemic, Nicole serendipitously found her love of farming through a farm apprenticeship with Dig Acres in Orange County, NY. She studied Communications and Environmental Studies at the University at Buffalo, but before fully tapping in to her love of the land & cute plants, she spent 3 meaningful years working in non-profit engagement with young adults & families in Buffalo, NY. You can often find Nicole talking about how cute plants are, exploring waterscapes, cooking, & snapping photos of food before anyone takes a bite

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A Sweet Start to our Virtual Programming this Spring: Maple Sugaring Michigan’s Sweet Treat

Eager learners experienced the tapping of a tree in the sugar bush as they watched the sap flow from the drilled hole before going outdoors at home or school to measure and calculate the diameter of a tree. Steam and evaporation investigations accompanied a visit to the sugar shack to see the evaporator and reverse osmosis filter up close and personal. Students compared and contrasted two Michigan agricultural crops – corn and maple – and explored the tastes and grades of maple syrup. Virtual learning tools from collaborative group work in breakout rooms to Kahoot games and STEM presentations kept kids engaged and having fun while actively learning about one of Michigan’s sweetest treats and agricultural crops – maple syrup! MSU Tollgate Farm has been grateful to be able to adapt to meet our mission through educational programming with school and home-based learners.

Interested in learning about our future virtual series? Visit our virtual program webpage: https://www.canr.msu.edu/tollgate/schools/virtual-school-and-community-programs

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MSU Tollgate Farm Kids’ Corner April 2021

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Meet Our Staff and Volunteers March 2021

Mary has been the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program State Leader since 2008 and she is based at Tollgate Farm. Mary is a native of Oakland County who grew up with a passion for plants, with a special interest in woody landscape plants (trees and shrubs). Mary has been a horticulture educator working with green industry businesses and consumers for MSU Extension for 36 years. Mary enjoys working with MSU Extension because of the opportunity to work with both people and plants while being connected to research and science. She likes sharing her knowledge with others and continually learning and being part of local, national and international networks to continue the exchange of scientific knowledge on plants. Her works has included travel to exchange ideas with horticulturists, EMGs, and plant enthusiasts in different states and counties (South Korea, Europe, Great Britain and numerous states). In her free time, Mary enjoys gardening (of course!) and specifically raising vegetables and cut flowers in her 144’ x 36’ hoop house. She also enjoys travel (prior to COVID-19) and learning about new plants. MSU Extension and Tollgate are fortunate to have Mary’s incredible knowledge and experience leading the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program. Thank you for all you do for MSU Extension and Tollgate Farm Mary!

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Crispy Apple and Kohlrabi Salad

This salad is bright, light, and crisp. This refreshing salad comes together with just some chopping and holds well for a day or two, making it a great make-ahead side dish or lunch.

Crispy Apple and Kohlrabi Salad

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