Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 18, 2024
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News
March 20, 2024
Volume 194 No. 12

Sweet Anticipation

Sweet amber sauce available Countywide this weekend
<p>Pancakes with banana, blueberry and maple syrup for a breakfast, wooden background, copy space</p>
Pancakes with banana, blueberry and maple syrup for a breakfast, wooden background, copy space

The 19th Maple in the County returns this weekend. Local sugar shacks and maple bushes will have the amber sauce in the pot, on the boil, and pouring over pancakes. 

Maple syrup production in the County dates back to the times of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee. Maple syrup was an early gift from Indigenous peoples to arriving Europeans as early as the late 1600’s.

Thousands are expected this weekend to taste the toil of local farm families, some of whom have been producing maple syrup for a century or more.

Longtime Prince Edward County maple syrup producer Arnold Vader. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Pancake breakfasts, maple taffy on snow, sugar shack tours, maple products of all description and a chance to enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas of maple syrup production are all on tap this weekend.

Maple in the County producers held a kick-off event at Vader’s sap house on East Lake earlier this month.  Sap has been boiled annually at Vader’s since the family relocated there from Coe Hill in 1910. In the days prior to pumps, reverse osmosis and propane-fired evaporators, family patriarch Arnold Vader would burn 30 cords of wood a season to keep the sap boiling — and the syrup flowing.

Maple in the County spokesperson Dean Foster, of Fosterholm Farms, explained it was this level of dedication and love of the craft of making maple syrup over the last century that has sustained the local industry and paved the way for future generations to take up the trade. While technology has made production much easier than the old days of wood-fired boiling and horse-and-sleigh collection, producing maple syrup is never a straightforward endeavour.

Maple in the County spokesperson Dean Foster (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

“The sugar season is the first opportunity for a lot of farmers to start generating income. Farmers are being squeezed all around the world. It’s more important than ever to get our story out.”

Dean Foster, Maple in the County

“The sugar season is the first opportunity for a lot of farmers to start generating income. If you’ve been watching the global markets and the agriculture protests in Europe, farmers are being squeezed all around the world. It’s more important than ever to get our story out,” Mr. Foster said.

A DIFFICULT SEASON

Connecting with customers and being able to explain how increased energy and labour costs drive up prices is an important part of Maple in the County. The technology that drives efficiency is also getting more costly every year.

“Ultimately, it’s the efficiency that will allow us to carry on, but there’s a love involved with maple syrup and we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t love it,” he added.

This season has certainly tested that love. Dramatic temperature fluctuations meant sap started running in mid-January. The earliest tapping on record at Hubbs Sugar Bush took place this year, on January 11th, said Ron Hubbs. His first boil was on February 6th. 

Hopes are high producers will get a few more runs prior to this weekend — but it is possible the season could wind up prior to Saturday.

“Overall, we’re down in volume but the quality has been very good. We’ve had something like four or five record-producing years in a row, so we are due for an off year. Mother Nature always has a way of balancing the books,” he quipped.

Maple in the County features dedicated maple syrup producers this weekend only. Another festival, Maple Madness, runs every Saturday and Sunday in March, and involves a number of maple farms as well as wineries, restaurants, and hoteliers. 

For the details on Maple Madness, please see: www.pecmarchmaplemadness.ca/

MAPLE IN THE COUNTY

Sweetwater Cabin / Hubbs Sugarbush

Cabin: 1937 Rednersville Road
Sugarhouse / Breakfast: 332 Pulver Road
Breakfast: March 23th & March 24th, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cabin: March 23th & March 24th, 2024, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Vader’s Maple Syrup

1260 County Road 18, Cherry Valley
Saturday, March 23th 2024, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday March 24th, 2024 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Fosterholm Farms

2234 County Road 18
Saturday, March 23th & Sunday, March 24th, 2024, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Roblin’s Maple Syrup

499 County Road 35
Saturday, March 23th 2024, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday March 24th, 2024 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

LOHA Farms

153 Lucks Crossroad
Saturday, March 23th 2024, and Sunday March 24th 2024, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A map is available at https://www.visitthecounty.com/maple-in-the-county/

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 12 edition of The Picton Gazette
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