Nothing says “Spring” like the making of Maple Syrup in the hardwood forests of Ontario and Quebec.
We made a visit this year to the Sharpe Family Farm where 3 generations of Sharpes have been making maple syrup. It was one of the first warm days this Spring, the sap was flowing and the wood fire had the maple syrup evaporator at full boil. It was quite a sight as we walked out to the sugar shack to see the steam pouring out of the louvers in the roof and wood smoke from the chimney flue.
We were greeted by Amanda O’Rourke, David Sharpe and their children David and Oakley and given a full tour of all the equipment used as part of the making of maple syrup. On hand was brother Andy and his daughter Melina who were busy fetching firewood as the large evaporator needs a lot of heat to keep the large pans of sap hot and cooking. David was saying they can cook about 135 gallons of sap an hour to create 3 gallons of their delicious maple syrup. And while the whole process seems quite simple, boil sap to get syrup, it is a tricky balance to bring that sap to the perfect boil temperature and then remove the syrup when it is just perfect. After an hour of stoking firewood and boiling, the syrup must be removed for bottling when it reaches just the right temperature, and not a minute longer.
The hospitality at the Sharpe Farm was delightful and what better way to finish off the visit but with some homemade pancakes, butter and fresh maple syrup. We’ve never tasted better and made sure to purchase a few bottles of syrup for home too.
Thanks to the Sharpe family for inviting us in on such a beautiful Spring day!
Tall Tree Farm