Sophie checking a sap bucket ~1989~
A Little History About Maple Syrup
Canada makes more than 80 percent of the world's maple syrup. Long before European settlers arrived, Canada's Native peoples were making a dark sugar from the sap of maple trees. In the spring, they made a diagonal incision in the trunk and inserted a strip of bark at the lower end of the cut to serve as a spile. The sap was collected in birchbark containers and then poured into hollowed-out logs. Rocks heated in a fire were placed in the sap to heat and evaporate it. Slowly the sap became syrup and eventually sugar. Early settlers learned from the Aboriginals and began making maple syrup to supplement their diets. They used spiles and wooden pails to collect the sap, which was boiled in the open in iron kettles. The art was handed down from generation to generation and is now part of our heritage. Over the years, the methods and equipment have greatly improved. Today, maple syrup production flourishes on a number of Canadian farms.
How we started
Get to know the Garland family and our passion for all maple/sugar products. You can always come visit us at the Garland Sugar Shack in Vars or come see us at the Orleans Farmers' Market on Thursdays, the Kanata Farmers' Market and/or the Westboro Farmers' Market on Saturdays, and the Ottawa Farmers' Market or Barrhaven Farmers' Market on Sundays.
Our maple syrup production, consisting of 5,000 taps and expanding, all started like most producers with a few hundred taps with buckets and boiling on a box stove. Our family operation now consists of a 4'x16' wood-fired evaporator with sap collected from 4 different bushes of a mix of soft and hard maples with the help of a pipeline and vacuum pump.
As a compliment to the production of maple syrup, we've added transformation of our liquid gold to make these lip-smacking products: Maple butter, maple candies, maple jelly, maple sugar, maple tarts, maple cones, maple popcorn and maple cotton candy.