It’s so close, we can almost taste it. Maple is Ontario’s first harvest, so don’t let that groundhog fool you, it’s the real sign that spring is almost here.
A maple syrup operation is half art, half science. From understanding the sap sugar content at various times of the year, knowing the colour, taste and density of different grades of syrup, to skills like understanding how to build and maintain the perfect fire to keep your evaporator going steady– there is a lot involved.
We consume so much Sapsucker in our office (it’s delicious, don’t judge!) that sometimes we forget how much does into tapping trees, let alone boiling down that sap into syrup. It’s something that should be celebrated.
How you ask? There’s no shortage of places to visit with family and friends as spring approaches and the maple sap thaws and flows in Ontario.
Here are a few festivals of note for those looking to go beyond the sugarbush!
The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association will be hosting the third Annual Maple Weekend on April 1 – 2, 2017 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Participants in Maple Weekend can be found across the province in a number of maple syrup producing areas.
Maple weekend gives you a first-hand opportunity to see how maple products are produced, from tree to table, along with the chance to taste and purchase quality maple products.
Just north of Toronto, the Kortright Centre in Vaughan, puts on a festival “tapping into nature”. It runs every day from March 4th to April 2nd. It features demonstrations, wagon rides, kids’ activities, and, of course, pancakes and maple syrup. They also run a ‘Maple Syrup by Lamplight’ experience that includes a guided twilight tour of the sugarbush and campfire treats.
East of the city, Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area, in Stouffville, has demonstrations, wagon rides, pancakes and maple syrup daily, plus special family activities throughout March Break and on weekends.
Eastern Ontario enjoys the highest concentration of maple forests and sugar bushes in the province – could be why Lanark County is considered the Maple Capital! You can eat, drink and even bathe in maple.
Prince Edward County hosts its annual “Maple in The County” festival on the weekend of March 25 & 26, with several local farms, wineries and a variety of restaurants and shops participating.
Also of note, the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival on April 1st, is recognized as the world’s largest single-day maple syrup fest by the Guinness Book of Record!
Looking for more maple experiences? Check out our Culinary Calendar — and don’t forget to give the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers a follow!