Sap’s not flowing just yet — but maple syrup producers eager for sweet season

Visitors from Toronto (foreground) pound in the spile during the ceremonial first tapping, March 2, at Sand Road Maple Farm. Co-owner Scott Coleman looks on (centre) along with Dr. Henry Lickers (right) of Akwesasne. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Ceremonial kickoff observed for 2019 sugaring season not likely to see first boil for another week or two

MOOSE CREEK — Local maple syrup producers drilled a ceremonial “first tap” here to mark the impending sugaring season.

But the actual arrival of Ontario’s first crop of the year is always a wait-and-see affair, and 2019 is proving no exception. It’s expected to be a while yet before the first sap of 2019 begins dripping from the spiles and into the vacuum tubing at Sand Road Maple Farm, where the owners run a 3,000-tap operation.

“We’re just about done installing our taps but we haven’t boiled yet,” says co-owner Angela Coleman at the Farm, which hosted the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association kickoff with a special breakfast and ceremonial “first tapping” on Sat., March 2. The annual tradition also saw Henry Lickers, Environmental Science Officer of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, offer traditional words of observance. Participants were then invited to toss pinches of tobacco into a ceremonial fire to mark the coming collection of sap from the “Chief of Trees,” the sugar maple.

With the arrival of March, many Eastern Ontario sugarbush pancake houses and retail outlets are now running full swing — stocked with syrup produced last year. They still await temperatures rising several degrees above freezing during the day and retreating back below freezing at night to start the harvest of this year’s sap.

In Ontario, over 3,000 “sugar-makers” produce over one million litres of Canada’s original sweetener.

Saturday’s event served as an excellent way to celebrate spring, reconnect with nature, and highlight quality time with family by visiting a local sugarbush.

The province’s maple syrup producers will again highlight their industry at the upcoming 2019 Maple Weekend, April 6-7.

See the proceedings, below.


South Nation Conservation Chair Bill Smirle (left) and Sand Road Maple Farm co-owner (and SNC CAO) Angela Coleman, toss tobacco into the ceremonial fire, to mark the “first tapping” of the 2019 sugaring-off season. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News


At the ceremonial first tap, from left, Sand Road Maple Farm co-owner Angela Coleman, Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association Vice-President Frank Heerkens, local federal Conservative candidate Eric Duncan, MP Guy Lauzon and North Stormont Mayor Jim Wert. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News


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