An East Coast winter would not be complete without the advent of Maple Sugar Season. The syrup and sugar production was first discovered by the Indigenous Peoples who thankfully shared the technique with our earliest settlers. Maple Sugar has always been associated with the northern climate as Maple and Birch Trees thrive in that weather. From mid-February to early March(weather permitting)production begins and the producers head to the woods to tap the trees for the treasured syrup.
Liquid Gold Syrup
The majestic Maple tree produces starch, stores it in it’s roots, gradually converts this into sugar then this sugar rises into the sap of the tree. With the right temperature; the saps runnin’ and the real work begins. Time is crucial as the ideal weather needs to be above freezing days and nights below freezing. The liquid sap is collected and transported to the Sugar Camps; in barrels, hauled by horse and sled. In todays world; you may see a tubing system connected to each tree that gravity feeds the sap; on down to the Sugar Shack. At the camp; the sap is boiled down, often on an open fire. This evaporates the water content and produces the pure liquid gold syrup we all so love. An average tree can have a producing life span of 100 years and provide up to 60 litres of raw sap over the season.
So; when you are out driving along a mountain ridge and see smoke rising deep in the forest, someone’s boiling sap. Maple sugar season is in full swing. Stop into your local Sugar Camp and enjoy some fresh syrup, maple sugar, candy and a feed of pancakes; if you are lucky. Spring is in the air!