Pass me another [Birch] Beer!
Thank you to Skip Cavanaugh and Sam Cooke for demonstrating the museum’s birch still!
Sam (a retired forester) and Skip (a pastor whose father ran birch stills in Tioga County) work diligently over the weekend of the festival to keep our still fires burning. Over a 48-hour run, the still will produce roughly a quart of birch oil, commonly known as “spirits of wintergreen.” The oil occurs naturally in the bark of the black birch tree and was used historically as a flavoring and topical pain reliever. Many thanks to Sam and Skip for helping to educate folks about this traditional forest industry!