I know it has been a while since anything was written on this blog and I apologize, this is what happens when you try to do too many things at once! And what a year it was, we had the best sap running season to date since we started boiling sap in 2003. We weren’t the only ones who had a bumper year either, I think the effects were felt across all of Eastern Ontario. We had a very successful Maple weekend in April with even more people enjoying the tour of our sugar shack. We have helped out at the Cheo’s Teddy Bear Picnic which has become such a success we will be joining them again next year. We have been in many markets this year from Metcalfe to Kemptville to Cornwall and we have met a lot of new people and some old friends as well. We have said a final goodbye to a few dear people and we have said hello to new arrivals.
The snow arrived early this year and it has stayed, it looks like a white Christmas will be in the cards this year. Even with the early arrival of snow it still somehow doesn’t feel like Christmas this year. Looking outside right now it’s snowing again, and it is that gentle soft falling snow, the kind you like to see on a Christmas morning as you sit in your comfy chair in your warm fuzzy pj’s drinking a hot cup of coffee while you wait for people to gather around the tree. But i just can’t quite get my mind into that Christmas spirit yet. But maybe it’s still early. What I can think about is in two months we will be once again checking the weather patterns daily to see when will be the ideal time to start tapping trees. It is the one thing I love to think about when its cold and snowing outside. Soon it will warm up and spring will be here, soon we will be busy again rushing around hanging buckets and checking pipelines for leaks making sure everything is in perfect running order for that first run of sap. Soon we will be inviting friends and family over for pancakes and treats and we will laugh and catch up on all that is new in each others lives. I am looking forward to that day, I will sit in front of the fire with a hot cup of coffee this week and look out the window and dream of that day to be here. From all of us at On The Bend Sugar Shack we wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I will leave you with a few photos from our year of 2018.
After a few stops and starts with this crazy March weather, the sap is flowing at On The Bend Sugar Shack and we are definitely in full boiling mode for the 2017 season. As you might have heard we are also having an open house April 1 and 2 for the first Eastern Ontario Maple Weekend. You can find out more about this on our facebook page. We look forward to seeing everyone next weekend!!
2016 is drawing to a close and the Christmas shoppers are out in full force. Soon we will be singing along with family to our favorite Christmas carols and making memories that will last a lifetime. We will be thankful for the families that are still here with us and we will never forget those who have left us too soon. We will exchange gifts with friends and neighbors who have help us get through another year and we will look forward to the new year with hope and wonder.
All of us at On The Bend Sugar Shack have fond memories of 2016. It was the best year yet for production of syrup in our short 13 years in business. We have joined so many farmers markets, fairs, and events and have met so many wonderful people. We worked hard all summer long to improve our pipeline system and to get our shack ready for the new season in 2017. And now that there is snow on the ground we will be looking towards the new year with the same hope and wonder. We look forward to another year full of friends and family old and new who have made our maple syrup journey thus far one of great joy and pride.
Happy Holidays Everyone
I know it’s August and I am sure you are wondering how could it be that maple syrup is in the news already…there is no snow on the ground….it’s too hot to be talking maple syrup! You are right, it is too early to be dreaming of snowy spring days. When it comes to thieves though, the weather is not something that seemed to stop them from thinking it would be worth it to steal a whole pallet of maple syrup worth $150,000.00. Large quantities of maple syrup going missing is not something that happens too often but when it does it makes the world a little less sweeter.
1700 gallons of sap has flowed into the sugar shack at On the Bend and we couldn’t be more excited! We had our second boil of the season on Sunday and our first family and friends visiting for pancakes and a lesson on how syrup is made. While we did have a few hiccups at the beginning of the boil due to frozen pipes not letting any sap flow into the evaporator, we managed to get the system unclogged and soon enough there was the sweet smell of syrup wafting though the shack. From the looks of the current weather forecast, it looks like next weekend will be another weekend of boiling and bottling of syrup. And from the looks of the smiles on the faces of our friends and family who joined us on Sunday, it looks like it has been a successful season already 🙂
What is that you ask? What does every maple syrup produce like to talk about? Like the Brits and every Canadian we love to talk about the weather. After having attended a seminar at the Maple Syrup Conference in Rome, New York, on climate and how it is affecting the Maple Syrup Industry – by gosh what did you think I would find when I goggled Maple Syrup? An article on the true cost of winter weather damage in Nova Scotia on the Maple Syrup Industry in 2015. While we had a bumper year last year in Ontario it looks like our neighbors to the east did not. And with the mild winter so far in Ontario I am crossing my fingers that this years sugaring season will hold out as well as last year.
How Sweet it is! There have been a few changes in the world of Ontario Maple and at On The Bend Sugar Shack. If you recall from last November I had mentioned that the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association was discussing rebranding themselves with the logo Sweet Ontario. Well words turned into action and if you have been out and about at the local markets and sugar shacks this year you may have noticed this logo on your favorite bottle of maple syrup. As well the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association’s website has received a facelift with this new branding in mind. Check out the link and let me know what your thought are, what you loved and what you didn’t love, I would love to hear from you.
Closer to home at On The Bend Sugar Shack we have implemented a few changes as well – Pipeline! Us On The Benders have put in many hours of man power getting our bush ready to install pipeline and its finally finished. While we have kept a few hundred buckets to keep with the traditional feel of a sugar bush, the new pipeline will give us more time and energy to enjoy the fruits of our labour and our guests who come every season to check out our operation. Now all that is left to do is get through another Canadian winter. Wish us luck and we will see you in the spring!
Summer is here and while the season of producing maple syrup is well over, Maple Producers from all over are definitely coming up with new inventive ways to enjoy the syrup well past the sugar house pancake breakfast. I just came across an article from the states about a famous brand of bourbon collaborating with an Ohio based syrup producer to come up with what they hope to be a rare and sought after bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. I for one would love the opportunity to be able to try this gourmet product to see if it is really something that could add that extra kick to my maple glazed salmon.
I read an interesting article recently about the state of maple syrup production in Quebec. It is nice to hear a little bit of common sense coming out of the Minister of Agriculture in Quebec Pierre Paradis and Ghislain Bolduc, MNA for Mégantic in southeastern Quebec. I wholeheartedly agree they need to take a long hard look at how they manage the production and sale of one of Canada’s sweetest products, and give all people who would like to produce and sell maple syrup the same opportunities as any other province who has the capacity.
The leaves are now out on the trees and the Sugaring Season is over and what a whirlwind it was. While every year we try to predict when the season will start and what kind of a year we will have, Mother Nature always likes to surprise us. The forecast looked perfect when we tapped the trees that first weekend in March and it looked like we were going to be right, the sap did flow a bit that first week and if our bush was all pipelined we probably would have had more sap to boil like the bigger operations but Mother Nature decided that she wasn’t quite ready to warm up yet and boy did she make us wait…..and wait…..and wait! It was the first weekend in April before we did our first big boil of the season. Easter weekend – I couldn’t believe it- Easter is usually the weekend we are finishing our last boil of the season and this year it was our first. And what about the following weekend you ask? We were taking down the buckets on the 12th of April and doing our last boil of the season. But even though it was such a short season, it was our best season yet in terms of the quantity and quality of our syrup. Of course none of this season would have been possible without all the help from family and friends who came out to help tap the trees, empty the buckets, and in the end help take down the buckets and buy our tasty syrup right there in our production room. A big heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone from us at On The Bend. We love your dedication to our little operation as much as you love our syrup. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!