Apr 11, 2010

Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival 2010

Maple syrup season is coming to an end. Natural sugar is stored in the roots of maple trees before winter, and since the sap rises in the spring, it can only be tapped from maple trees under particular spring-like weather conditions. Thus, maple syrup season only lasts about a month, March-April. Eager to catch the first guided tour of the day, I biked to the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival at Kortright Centre on a beautifully sunny, brisk Saturday morning.

See the photo above on the left? In the olden days, pioneers tapped maple tree sap with buckets like these. But sap is only 97% water! The remaining 3% sap still needs to be transformed into the maple syrup we can put on pancakes. As well, it requires around 40 buckets of sap to make 1 bucket of maple syrup! Look at the photo above on the right. Pioneers laboriously boiled sap in cauldrons like these, each cauldron successively hotter than the next, in order to evaporate the sap and eventually end up with maple syrup.

Everyone in the tour was given a wee taste of medium maple syrup tapped from Kortright Centre. Without pancakes, I managed to down 3 small sips of the sweet stuff. Our tour guide admitted that the sap had been tapped a few days ago. The past few days simply did not have ideal weather conditions for the maple trees to want to produce any sap! Today, maple sap is boiled down in small cabins called sugar shacks, where large evaporators boil the sap into maple syrup. Indeed, these evaporators get the job done much faster than the cauldrons! So sip up! 'Cuz April 11 is the last day of the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival at Kortright Centre.

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