A Wellesley operation is among the Ontario maple syrup producers gearing up for their second year of Fall in Love with Maple.
The event is hosted by the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (OMSPA). Participants open up their sugar bush for the public to come take a tour in the fall when the maple colours are at their best. The event takes place over two weekends from September 24 to October 2.
Last year was a success, said OMSPA executive director John Williams. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we had 10,000 people.
“It’s a chance for people who love maple syrup and love the fall colours to get out and combine the two and come right into sugar bushes across the province,” he said.
The Wagler family near Wellesley is participating in the weekend festivities, and are inviting people to come to their bush for wagon rides and tours. They took part last year, as well.
“We were surprised at the amount of people that came out to the farm,” said David Wagler. “It went well and people really enjoyed getting out to see the farm. We estimate around 200 people attended.”
The farm will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and when people arrive, someone will meet them and guide them.
Wagler says many people don’t realize just how much maple sap is needed to make maple syrup (the ratio is about 40 litres of sap to one litre of syrup).
“The cost of running a business has gone up due to inflation, along with all the red tape that you have to get through to operate,” he said. But what keeps him going is producing great syrup for customers and seeing them return for more: “Growing up it was a hobby, now we have turned it into a business and are excited to see it grow.”
Fall in Love with Maple started in the United States as a way for maple syrup producers to make up some of the loss they experienced during the pandemic due to cancelled events, said Williams. Ontario followed suit.
“It was a good way to make up for lost ground from the spring,” he explained.
Williams said that maple events like this one “really give people a chance to connect with the people that actually produce their food, produce their maple syrup, and also a chance to get outdoors and experience that side of agriculture. Not just being in a store – you can go to where your favourite stuff is made, and talk to the people that make it.”
For more information about Fall in Love with Maple event, or to find more participating producers, visit www.OntarioMaple.com. Williams says there is no admission cost to attend.
“Come out and see us on the weekend for falling in love with maple. We look forward to seeing you,” said Wagler.