2234 Cty. Rd. 18, Picton, Ontario, 613.393.5655
Cliff Fosterís father started making maple syrup in 1924 at the home farm near Sandbanks. He spent everything he had to buy 75 acres, and at first he lived in the barn because the farm had no house. But it had a sugarbush, and he tapped the trees and hung 375 sap buckets. He worked hard, built a house and eventually bought Outlet Farm that had another good sugarbush. So he bought another 325 buckets.
Now Cliff runs Fosterholm Farms with his son Dean with help from his two grandsons. Each year they tap 7,000 trees, but Cliff and Dean no longer hang buckets - they collect sap by running lines to each tree. Taps and lines go in beginning in January and come out in April.
The Foster family evaporator is oil fired, and with the price of oil rising, Cliff is thankful for his reverse osmosis system that removes 70% of the water from the sap before it even reaches the evaporator making huge savings on boiling time. Itís a tough machine, built in 1967 and going strong.
Maple in the County kicks off the season for the Foster family, and in 2005 a thousand people visited them in the sugar shack to enjoy home made pancakes with sausages and as much maple syrup as they wanted. Cliff is generous with his syrup and puts big jugfuls on the table for guests to help themselves. His dad would be proud!
This year, enjoy homemade pancakes, grilled sausages and pure maple syrup—made fresh all day long —for Adults $10, Children $5. Work off that breakfast by taking a walking tour of the sugar bush and learn all about maple syrup production in the sugar shack.
started in 1924 with 267 buckets and a 2X8 Lightning evaporator
1967 built new sugarhouse and had a 4X12 Lightning evaporator
1970 started to use tubing
2001 had a 5X14 oil-fired evaporator
2003 built on a bottling room
2007 bought a Reverse Osmosis machine
2011 inducted into the Quinte Local Maple Hall of Fame
332 Pulver Road, Carrying Place, Ontario, 613.966.8997
Ron Hubbs grew up on a dairy farm and once grew cash crops himself. Now he works in the municipalityís roads and engineering department, but this fourth generation farmer still produces one great crop a year - sweet maple syrup. Heís carrying on a family tradition of more than 100 years.
The family farm has an old established sugarbush with 14 kms of thoroughly modern plastic tubing to collect the sap. But as well as tending the old bush up a lane and over the hill from the farmhouse, Ron planted a new orchard in 1989. He dug out young maples that were struggling for light and replanted them on a sunny south-facing slope behind the house. With 100 trees per acre the orchard captures maximum sunlight to ensure the best possible yield of sap, and itís almost ready to harvest sap.
Janice Hubbs created their Sweetwater Cabin from a very old log cabin they rescued from Lanark County. Rebuilt and looking great, the little cabin welcomes visitors all year round to sample syrup and maple treats. A wonderful selection of maple themed antiques and accessories are on display, and a stuffed ďfisher,Ē a furry little carnivore that could chew its way through plastic lines faster than lightning but who met his fate on the road outside, now sits stuffed and watchful amid the maple paraphernalia.
Janice is curator of the Ameliasburgh Museum and a fountain of knowledge about the history of the County and of maple syrup. Just as the Native Peoples taught settlers how to make maple syrup to sweeten their hard lives, Janice enthusiastically shares her love and knowledge of all things maple with schoolchildren, guests and her hundreds of Maple in the County visitors.
This year celebrate spring at Hubb’s Sugarbush. Enjoy wagon rides from Sweetwater Cabin to the Sugarhouse and Pancake Breakfast at Hubbs. This year will feature a new lumberjack show featuring Tom Mikel of the Prince Edward Land Stewardship Council. Breakfast will also be served at the Lake Masonic Lodge. The Lake Masonic Lodge No. 215 35th Annual Pancake Breakfast proceeds will benefit community projects. All activities are weather permitting. Full details at: facebook.com/sweetwatercabin
Hubbs Sugarbush / Sweetwater Cabin
started in 1975 with 600 taps
met Odie Grimm of the Grimm Manufacturing Company, added 200 taps on tubing, used a 3X12 Grimm evaporator
1977 hosted Lake Lodge’s first pancake breakfast
1980 built a new sugarhouse
1983 bought new pans
1985 installed tubing
1989 started planting trees in our maple orchard
1993 bought a new Hurricane evaporator
2003 opened Sweetwater Cabin Maple store
2008 bought new pans
2009 inducted into the Quinte Local Maple Hall of Fame
292 Mowbray Road, Picton, Ontario, 613.476.6120
Every March, as John’s parents farmed, he could be found in the sugarbush. Just 12-years old when he built his first sugar shack, today JC Nyman Farms can proudly say it has more than 20 years of maple syrup experience under its belt. Starting out with 40 plastic ice cream buckets 20 years ago, JC Nyman Farms today has 900 taps mostly on pipeline with a few on buckets. Boiling is done in the farm yard sugar shack on a newer high efficiency wood fired evaporator.
John's picturesque 78 acre farm (located just outside Picton) is ethical, sustainable and animal-friendly. Its mix of productive farm- and pasture-land allow John to produce the very best grass fed lamb, pork, beef, eggs, free-range chickens and turkeys you’ll ever eat.
John maintains an open door policy, encouraging visitors to peek in every nook and cranny to see for themselves that the farm is a happy and healthy place to raise the animals. During Maple in the County don’t be surprised if it’s a riot of adorable lambs bounding around in the barn!
This year, visit John’s farmyard sugar shack and watch him turn sap into syrup in his high-efficiency wood-fired evaporator. Bring the kids for an afternoon in the sand box, in the yard, or a play date in the barn with the new lambs, chickens, pigs and the baby jersey calves, while mom and dad enjoy a delicious maple pork sausage on a bun or a hearty bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.
JC Nyman Farms
1260 Cty. Rd 18, Cherry Valley, Ontario, 613.476.5231
Bottles of Vaderís maple syrup are a familiar sight in County shops and supermarkets, but many maple fans still prefer to go to the Vaderís farm shop or the Vaderís kitchen door to buy their syrup.
Grandfather Arnold Vader learned the craft from his own father and grandfather and has been making maple syrup himself for more than 60 years. These days he takes it a little easier and lets his sons and grandchildren carry on the tradition. Arnold is famous for his stories about the old days of maple syrup making and just about everything else in the County, and he shares his stories with visitors on Maple in the County weekend.
Arnoldís son Todd is chief syrup maker now. Heís been doing it for 25 years on the farm that his great grandfather bought in 1910. Todd makes the point that - sweet as it is - maple syrup is far from frivolous. Itís a real crop, the farmerís first crop of the year. Todd and his sons farm corn and soy and run a dairy operation too. But for a short, intense period each spring they focus on maple syrup working hard to tend an astounding 2,500 taps on direct lines to the sugarshack, and about 300 old fashioned buckets in areas where they canít string lines.
Old style tools and vintage photos are on show during Maple in the County, while the sap house itself is state-of-the-art, and visitors get a close look at the powerful oil fired evaporator by climbing up to a wooden viewing platform. Maple weekend is a time for celebration with the Vader family with storytelling, maple tastings and music. Itís tradition and history and a great family business.
This year, come and be educated and entertained by family and friends of the County's longest running maple producers since 1910. Enjoy a tour of the sap house, try Ty's Kettlecorn popped on-site or enjoy mouth-watering taffy. A variety of maple products available.
Vader's Maple Syrup
used sap house already on farm
1910 first tapped 400 taps
1962 new sugar house was built
1989 oil fired evaporator
1992 added a new room
1997 added another new room
2008 new welded pans and a piggy back steam system
265 Sandy Hook Road, Picton
When Sandi and Ed Taylor came to the County in 1993 they knew they wanted to both farm and produce maple syrup on a small scale. A year of searching led them to what is now known as Honey Wagon Farms located just down the road from the Waring House. This purchase allowed them to fulfill that desire to grow veggies without the use of herbicides, fungicides or pesticides and to make maple syrup.
The farm originally had a limited source of maple trees. Fortunately, several years after moving in, they were able to add to their maple operation with the purchase of an adjacent sugar bush from the Lockyer family. Now each new season begins with the tapping of 550 trees at the back of their 86 acre farm. They began production using traditional methods and continue to do so today. They still hang buckets to gather sap, boil on an open wood fired evaporator in the sugar shack located close to their house and filter the syrup, gravity feed, through felts. Their syrup is sold in uniquely designed decorative gift bottles….great for home use or as gifts for family and friends alike. In keeping with their efforts to be environmentally friendly these bottles lend themselves to a variety of uses after.
The pancake breakfasts held at Honey Wagon have always been fundraisers for local organizations. Currently they are pleased to be working with their local Hallowell Volunteer Firefighters who use the money gained to purchase needed firefighting equipment for the area. This year they will have on display a Rescue Saw which is used in extreme situations…….cutting through steel doors etc. It was purchased with money received through your generous support of their previous breakfasts.
Come enjoy some good fun and community spirit as we all welcome the first crop of the season. Join our firefighters as they cook up a storm of delicious pancakes, sausages, beans and of course, maple syrup.
Honey Wagon Farms
Robert and Sally Peck got the inspiration to start their vineyard while honeymooning in the Okanogan Valley in the late 1990’s. After purchasing their farm and deciding to settle in the County, the couple were unsure of what to name their future vineyard. The former owners of the land informed them that there was a substantial sugarbush on the property: Sugarbush Vineyards was born.
Hand-harvesting their vineyard, and producing six different grape varietals would be enough to keep most people busy, but three years ago this ambitious couple decided they would begin tapping their sugarbush – the old fashioned way. Using no tubing, they tap about 100 trees using traditional buckets. Once collected, the sap is boiled down over an open fire using an old fashioned sap pan. This takes a considerable commitment – the first one up in the morning, must light the fire and keep it going until 11pm. This hard work amounts to the production of about 5-10 litres of syrup a day. The entire season produces about 50 litres for the family to sell in their winery, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Admittedly, they make maple syrup for the fun of it. Though not a large-scale operation, they’d be thrilled if you visited them! This year, Sugarbush Vineyards will be boiling the syrup adjacent to the tasting room, making maple fudge s’mores for children, and selling many maple goodies in store. Visit them and take the 2-3 km hike out to their sugarbush (please bring appropriate outdoor clothing). After your walk enjoy a tasting of their wine – made entirely from grapes from their vineyard.
3016 County Road 8, Waupoos
Kyle Baldwin’s family has been making maple syrup for generations. His grandmother’s family began the tradition in Quebec long ago - this was passed down to his father who began making syrup in Consecon in the early 1980’s. Shortly after, Kyle began tapping his own trees and continuing the family legacy. His mother was originally from Waupoos, so it seemed a perfect fit when Kyle began working with Waupoos Winery. Noticing a substantial sugarbush behind the barn on the north side of the property, Kyle finally convinced original owners Ed Neuser & Rita Kaimins to allow him to begin tapping the trees in 1997. It’s clear that Kyle has true passion for what he does, and enjoys bringing another great product onto the shelves of the Waupoos tasting room.
Waupoos Winery has always been a supporter of the Maple in the County festival. Last year they expanded their programming to include a pancake breakfast in the morning, and a traditional meal of ham and beans in the afternoon – all prepared by their Chef. For the kids, they will have a petting zoo, maple syrup demos and toffee on snow or ice. Complimentary tastings will be offered at the winery all weekend – and maple syrup will be readily available!