Tuesday afternoon Hannah and I took a trip out to Powassan to Mathew’s Maple Syrup Farm. It’s about a 2 hour drive from us, as we approached the farm we were able to see loads of blue pipe, about 10mm in diameter going from tree to tree. Brendan joked that this was for cider, and Hannah being gullible believed him! Te he he. They drill a hole into the tree, then drive in the tap, which the pipe connects to. The pipe then joins into a main line which returns to the distillery come refinery. Hannah is stood next to the mainlines below in the pictures. The tree produces about 20psi of pressure to push the sap up, a vacuum is used to help draw the sap along pipes. Reverse osmosis removes the first 20% water, then they heat the sap to remove yet more water until it is 60% sugar. The syrup is filtered to remove impurities and lastly bottled. As simple as that! Also they had a some cool ATV’s with tracks, and a sledge, which would be horse drawn, but we didn’t happen upon the horses.
We were able to sample the sap right from the buckets on some of the trees, the sap is only about 2% sugar, so pretty much just water. We bought cotton candy made from the syrup, it was particularly light in texture and melted in the mouth, more so than the regular stuff. That evening we had Belgium waffles with ice cream and the real syrup. We also went for a very short walk on Lake Nepissing, this is the largest frozen lake I have ever set foot on.
Friday we went for a walk down at Ramsey, which is beginning to melt, we did observe people walking on it and also a couple of snow machines racing across it, but the ice is turning black, this is a sign that it’s melting and unsafe to be on. But it was a beautiful day, cool clear and sunny.
There is running water everywhere now as ice and snow melt, the grit has small rivers meandering through it.