Friday, March 4, 2011

The Sugar Bush

Well it is that time of year again when the sun stays out longer and longer and the snow melts away. The birds come back to build a nest and the days begin to feel warmer and warmer. With the impending approach of spring around the corner, also comes a fun family activity. The sugar bush. Yes it is that time honoured tradition that brings the yummy sweet maple sap to a boiler to be made into maple syrup. I'm not talking about the Aunt Jemima crap (it is tasty) but the real pure maple syrup. This is made from collecting the sap from maple trees in the spring when the sap begins to run. It is water like and carries some wonderful sugars that once transformed, bring a new life to pancakes, donuts and coffee to name a few.

In college, I went to a sugar bush to shoot a segment for a local TV show we produced in the college. It turned out to be a wonderful day. We saw the whole operation and were able to shoot every step of the process. It is amazing how such a simple thing can be so complex with temperatures and colours with the syrups. It was nice that the owners also invited us for pancakes and freshly brewed maple syrup. We also were able to take a couple bottles home. Great family run business and it had been in operation for 70 years plus.

I think we will be making another trip this year to sample the maple syrup from 2011's winter crop. There are a couple places we can go and they all offer horse drawn cart rides, maple tasting, activities for the kids and of course the chance to buy all the maple products they produce. Last year we bought a bottle of syrup and some pancakes for the girls. They had a blast and we had a nice day outdoors enjoying the great sunny spring weather. I highly recommend this for a fun family outing. It will cost you admission to go in which usually isn't too much because not everyone is going to buy something. I have started looking in Ontario and by the looks of it, it is only a week from the sap beginning to run.