What a great looking tree…I’d tap that! Heyohh!!
Its almost spring and maple syrup season is here, weather permitting!
I heard from my pal Ian McDonald who was already tapping last weekend in the Almonte area of the Ottawa Valley, and my high school buddy; Scott Lees just started-up his 25-year maple syrup operation in the Lachute, QC area.
My daughter Grace and I do a little tapping also, we produced 1-2 litres of syrup last spring from just a handful of trees. Not a ton for sure, but still fun.
Ahhhh, there is nothing quite like maple syrup production, and I have spent more years than I can recall with my Dad working the sugar bush at the Arundel Natural Science School. Times I will never forget..not easy work, mind you, but extremely rewarding and tasty.
What a blast it was – laying lines, repairing breaks, tapping, watching the evaporator, taking-off the syrup and running the old creaky canner. The entire operation is a blast right down to the moment when that batch of syrup is ready to harvest…man, it tastes awesome when its warm, doesn’t it?
There is a true science involved in any maple syrup operation; from understanding maple sap’s sugar content at various times of the season, knowing the colour, taste and density of different syrup grades, to understanding basic things such as building (and maintaining) the perfect fire to keep your evaporator going strong. Its not as easy as its sounds.
Then there’s moment when the ‘webbing starts’ at precisely 7 degrees above boiling point of water, and your pure maple syrup is ripe for the picking (or pouring I should say)
Old school syrup producers have never used modern gauges and I’m sure never worried about it either. They can read more in the webbing off their ladle than a thousand sophisticated gauges could predict..now that is science in itself.
The final product, well, it is a thing of beauty and there is really nothing in the world that compares to the taste of fresh maple syrup, or taffy on snow. Canada produces over 90% of the WORLD’S supply of maple syrup(majority produced in QC and eastern ON) – a statistic we should be extremely proud of.
Maple syrup production is a big part of our heritage just like hunting, fishing or the fur industry, never forget that.
So, get out there and enjoy some pure Canadian goodness!! The forecast looks good for sap to run over the next few days and lets hope favorable temperatures remain long enough for another great season! (Last spring, from what I heard, was a very good syrup season)