Why the start of the Maple Syrup season. It's still a few weeks away, waiting for the hot sunny days and the freezing cold nights to bring the sap surging up the maple trees, but it is on the way.
To celebrate the start of the Ontario maple syrup season, there is a little known but none-the-less important ceremony, known as the First Tapping.
It signals the start of the first agricultural crop of the year. Yes, just like apples and summer sweet corn, maple syrup is a food crop. In Ontario, over 3000 sugarmakers make over one million litres of this fabulous and natural sweetener. Not to mention, a ride through a sugarbush is far more fun that tromping about a pumpkin patch -- no slight intended to the lovely orange fruits of Hallowe'en!
The ceremonial First Tapping will take place on February 25, at the Deerhurst sugarbush (just behind the Deerhurst Highlands golf clubhouse) Festivities include a barbeque hosted by SAVOUR Muskoka, taffy on snow, demonstrations of maple candy making, tours of the sugarhouse and rides to the site of the First Tapping.
Ontario is one of the world's leading maple sugar producers.and the tradition runs deep. First Nations people taught the early pioneers the art, and ensured that there was something sweet that could be kept through the winter months when food was limited, and -- to be blunt -- getting rather bland by late March...
It is an honour for the Muskoka Maple Syrup Producers to be hosting the First Tapping this year, so do come on out and learn a little more about this wonderful syrup, the trees from which it comes, and how it is made. It's a super chance to get out in the woods, celebrate spring, reconnect with nature, and spend some quality family time.
For those who think Winter goes on too, long, this is a great opportunity -- if they're starting to tap the trees in preparation for the sugaring season, Spring can't be far behind.