Visitors to Sugar Moon Farm on Saturday were able to witness the first boil of the season, as sap became maple syrup.
© Lynn Curwin
Aslyn, left, and Ronan Woodford enjoyed a maple treat when they visited Sugar Moon Farm on Saturday. The children were able to help make their own treats by rolling a stick in the maple syrup once it was poured over crushed ice.
Vehicles packed the parking lot and lined the unpaved country road as hundreds of people flocked to the sugar camp to tour, enjoy a maple treat, have a meal in the log restaurant and hike along the trails through the sugar woods.
“We’ve come here every year for the last three years,” said Lori MacDonald of Halifax, who was with her children, seven-year-old Aslyn Woodford and five-year-old Ronan Woodford, as well as her parents. “We would drive any distance for the maple taffy. The pancake breakfast is amazing too. It’s a great family outing.”
Between 300 and 500 people visit each day on weekends during sugar season.
“People are very excited to see spring,” said Quita Gray who, along with her partner Scott Whitelaw, owns and operates the farm. “Sap is mostly water so it’s frozen in the trees until it warms up. We need above zero temperatures like today.”
Tours are offered year-round. While visitors are not able to see maple syrup being made on-site during other seasons they can watch a video filmed at the camp and tour the facility, and the maple treats are available all year.
“Compared to the last decade we’re a bit late this year but we have had later starts to the maple season,” said Scott Whitelaw. “We need 900 to 1,000 gallons of sap to start.
“We’ve had as few as nine boils in a season and as many as 16. It all depends on the freeze and thaw cycle.”
The farm has about 35 acres of woodland with about 2,500 taps. It takes 40 to 50 hours of labour to get the trees tapped.
Sugar Moon Farm is open every Saturday and Sunday, as well as Friday and Monday on Easter weekend, from 9 am to 5 pm. During the week they host schools and groups that book visits.
Maple Mist Farm and Swan’s Maple Products also welcome visitors to their camps.