It's Sweet. It's Sticky. It's Canadian. It's Maple Syrup
Who doesn't like a little sweetness in their life? We are fortunate enough to live in an area abundant with maple syrup producers!
Here in Canada, and especially in Ontario, we are very privileged to have such easy access to, in my opinion, the best maple syrup around. With Ontario producing around 40% of the syrup, and the rest coming from Quebec, we are in a perfect location. Whether you use syrup drizzled over your pancakes for breakfast, as a sugar substitute, or added to your sausages (this is very delicious by the way) you are in the right place to purchase locally made maple syrup. Here at Foodlink Waterloo Region we have many farm partners that tap trees right on their farm and boil the sap to produce their own maple syrup. I talked to one of our farm partners, Kevin Snyder of Snyder Heritage Farms, and he answered a few questions for me.
Q: How long have you been in the maple syrup business?
A: We’re a 6th generation farm producing maple syrup. I’ve been helping my whole life.
Q: How many trees do you tap?
A: We are currently tapping about 2100 trees or 3200 taps all on pipeline with vacuum. In 2009 we were at 1250 buckets (life is easier now) as vacuum increases yield by 25-30%.
Q: How long is the process start to finish to make maple syrup?
A: Our evaporator is a continuous flow. The sap goes through a reverse osmosis machine first and removes 2/3 of the water-- a big energy saver! Our evaporator is 3.5’x14’. When we are running we process 2000L of sap and make about 50L of syrup an hour.
Q: What’s the difference between the different grades of maple syrup (light, amber, dark etc)
A: A new grading system came into effect this year. North America is all the same now. I like the new system as it has taste descriptions with each grade. Grades and flavour change as the trees go from winter to spring. All maple syrup has the same sugar content, 66-67% brix, and is also cooked the same amount of time.
Q: How much sap does it take to make 1L of maple syrup?
There is a maple weekend coming up April 1-2, put on by Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, to help bring consumers right to the sugar producers. For more information click here. On our Foodlink website we have a map that you can use to find local food. You can search for specific items or farms in our region. I encourage you to use that to locate local maple syrup. I guarantee it beats the taste of any syrup you can find in a grocery store! I encourage you to find a local farm, talk to the farmer and get to know where you food comes from. Taste the difference local makes!