Thoroughness pays off!

Sirop d’erable. Liquid gold. Magic tree sauce.

Whatever else you may choose to call it by, maple syrup is indisputably linked with Canada. Many people know of the staggering amount of work that goes into turning the sap or late winter and early spring into delicious, wonderful syrup.

As with most things in life, the easier something looks, the harder it is to actually do. Drill some holes in maples, stick in spiles, hang pails, collect, and boil. Sounds simple enough, and 95% of the work is that simple.

But if you plan to sell it, or enter it in competitions, you do need to be aware of many details that can’t be overlooked. For example, simply boiling sap till it starts to change colour and thicken doesn’t automatically make it syrup. It has to meet a very specific range of density, fall within a specific colour grade and must be absolutely crystal clear, with no contaminants at all. The all-important taste is expected to be consistent with the colour grade.

The number of ribbons (and prize money) I collected at most of those fairs speak for themselves.

Entering competitions ups the ante even more. Seemingly trivial issues like the kind of container plays a factor – if you choose to enter Metcalfe Fair, for instance, you are expected to enter one 500ml clear Mason jar of Medium (Amber) grade syrup.

However, if you want to enter the Royal Winter Fair, you must submit two 250ml Kent bottles per division – and they must be topped with caps of a specific colour. A few years ago they wanted white; this year, they want brown. Yes, it does get that specific.

Fall 2022 was my third season entering the maple syrup divisions at local fall fairs. The number of ribbons (and prize money) I collected at most of those fairs speak for themselves.

This thoroughness and attention to small, seemingly insignificant details has been a trademark of my work for decades. Rest assured that the appraisals I carry out are treated with the same thoroughness and attention to detail that I put into sugaring.

Gorgeous fall weather outside, get out there and enjoy the sunshine and the turning leaves!

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