A sure sign spring has arrived

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Tatamagouche & Area Notebook, By Ellen Millard

Swan’s Maple farm ready for the sap to start running

Jim and Donna Bezanson are getting ready for the busy sap running season at Swan’s Maple Products in Central New Annan.

The stand of maple trees on the farm has produced the much sought after maple products as far back as 1870 when the first Swans began to tap the trees around their property.

Jim says he first became interested in the business when he met and married Donna. At that time her Dad, Jim, and his brother Alex were tapping the maple trees on their farms high in the hills of the Cobequid Mountains.

Although Jim (Bezanson) had a full time job in Truro, he became interested in the maple sugar business and began helping them during the busy season.

Today, as sole owners, Jim and Donna have greatly expanded and improved the original business. They’ve built a retail store, cut out trails to tap the many trees on their farm and over the years have expanded and improved the maple woods to a modern maple farm.

This year Jim has installed a reverse osmosis (RO) system where the sap comes into the feed pump, through a set of pre-filters and then a high-pressure pump, which sends the sap through membranes in two pressure vessels.

It takes 43 gallons of two per cent sap to make a gallon of pure maple syrup, but the RO system filters out some of the water (raising the sap to a 10 per cent concentration) before it goes to the evaporator.

His new equipment has led to a savings in fuel to produce the syrup. Jim says, “We used to need a large fire to boil off the syrup, but now we run a smaller fire so there’s a savings in fuel and labour.”

Jim also has gauges to tell him the concentration of the syrup, and he has also added a new large storage tank.

The weather is a big factor in the maple business as it takes cool nights and sunny days for the sap to run.

It’s easy to see Jim enjoys working in the maple woods and is proud of their maple business. The results are marketed in his shop at the farm and also in local stores, so watch for the delicious syrup in the attractive jug with the Swan’s Maple Products label.

The farm is located at 419 Grist Mill Road outside Tatamagouche. The Web site is www.swansmapleproducts.com or find them on Facebook.

Ellen Millard is a historian, author and longtime resident of Sand Point, near Tatamagouche. Email her at millards@nncweb.ca. 

Geographic location: Tatamagouche, Truro, 419 Grist Mill Road Sand Point

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