Sweet ways to experience Ontario maple this spring
Pandemic-friendly ways to get your maple fix in 2021
If you’ve been wondering how to experience the maple season this year, in spite of the pandemic, you’ll be happy to know that Ontario maple syrup producers are an intrepid lot, and this year’s maple syrup production promises to be bigger (and sweeter) than ever before.
Yes, visiting a sugar bush may not be the same as in past years, but your annual maple-immersion is still possible. In fact, maple syrup production is naturally COVID-friendly. A lot of the maple experience is outdoors with lots of room to roam, and with spring finally sprung, the weather has never been better to get out into the fresh air.
Here’s how you can get your maple fix in 2021 and support Ontario farmers at the same time.
Bring the sugar bush home
If you’ve been waiting for a fresh crop of maple syrup to be bottled, the time is now to stock up for 2021. Many Ontario maple syrup producers have transitioned to online sales or curbside pickups, so it’s never been easier to stock up on all the traditional maple staples like maple syrup, maple butter, maple candy — it’s all just a click of the button away.
Reach out to your local producer to chat about what they are offering this year for maple experiences to find the best way to place your order. To find a producer near you, visit the Ontario Maple website, click on “Where to Buy” and use the interactive map to help locate a sugar bush near you.
Visit a sugar bush (yes, you can still do this)
Some Ontario maple syrup producers are still offering sugar bush tours and visits to the farm, with some restrictions. This is your chance to learn more about maple syrup production, get outdoors into the fresh spring air or wander trails in a maple bush.
Connect with a local producer to find out what they are offering for on-site visits — some sugar bushes are taking reservations to trek through the sugar bush and get your syrup at the same time. This is a great, family-friendly way to celebrate spring and all its sweet bounty.
If there is one thing we will miss the most this syrup season, it’s the visit to a local pancake house to binge on a sweet and delicious breakfast of champions. Unfortunately, COVID has brought challenges with this time-tested tradition, but don’t worry, we have a solution.
You can still enjoy your traditional pancake brunch — some pancake houses are offering takeout pancake breakfast kits with a hot breakfast just like you remember. If you’d rather make your own at home, they’ve got you covered there, too, with their at-home breakfast kits for the do-it-yourselfers who think all-you-can-eat maple syrup and pancakes is worth a little muss and fuss in the kitchen.
Do it yourself
Do you have a lone maple tree in your backyard that you’ve often thought about tapping? If there was ever a time to try maple syrup production yourself, it’s now! This may seem like a daunting endeavour, but making maple syrup is easier than it looks.
All you need is a bucket, a spile and a pot to boil the sap in (and a little patience). If you’re thinking of giving this a go, read these fun articles about how to get started, like how to identify and tap a maple tree, boiling your sap and a general guide on making this sweet liquid gold.
Get manic about maple
Here in Ontario, we take our maple syrup seriously, and you’ll see it pop up in ways that might surprise you, from exfoliant and skin care products to liquor, beer, mustard, barbecue sauces and even maple sap.
There are plenty of fun ways you can experience maple syrup without necessarily adding to your calorie count. Many of these experiences are available for online ordering so they can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
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