Mar 15, 2023

By Christine Ross

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It’s the sweetest time of year as Ontario maple syrup producers tap and collect sap in what’s become the earliest season in years. Production of the liquid gold is the unofficial Canadian rite of spring.

“We’ve been off to a record early start for many producers in the province, ourselves we started two weeks earlier than we ever have before,” said producer John Williams, executive director of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association.

“Once we get back into the classic temperature ranges which for us is -5 celsius at night and +5 celsius in the daytime, we should see some good production and I think that’s going to happen next week.”

The next two weeks will be busy at the sugar shacks as Mother Nature promises to deliver perfect conditions for producers who expect a bumper crop this year thanks to an extended mild spell last month.

“We’ve made 60% of our crop already and weather in the next two weeks looks very good, I believe we’re going to have an excellent season here maybe the best we’ve ever had,” according to Kent

He runs the largest operation in Simcoe County and hopes to beat last year’s yield of 24,000 litres of syrup which is a far cry from 2021 when production was down 20% across North America.

But the milder winters prompt concerns about climate change.

“We’re not panicked about climate change but we are worried about and keeping an eye on it and all want to play our part in reducing the amount of carbons we’re putting into the air, said Williams.

According to these two seasoned maple syrup producers, what’s the best food pairing for the liquid gold?

For John Williams, it’s maple Crème brûlée, one of his all time favourites. Kent Breedon prefers fruit with his. “I like strawberries with a little milk in the bowl and a bit of syrup on top.”

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