Celebrating the start of maple syrup season
Just under 50 people of all ages attended the ceremonial first tapping ceremony at Sand Road Maple Farm in North Stormont. From the left, South Nation Conservation chair Bill Smirle, maple syrup producers Angela Coleman and Brian Barkley, SDSG federal Conservative party candidate Eric Duncan, SDSG MP Guy Lauzon, Dr. Henry Lickers, maple syrup producer Frank Heerkens, Bev Lickers and North Stormont Mayor Jim Wert. Thompson Goddard photo
NORTH STORMONT – The sun shone brightly on Sat., March 2 as close to 50 people attended the First Tapping Ceremony held at Sand Road Maple Farm in North Stormont. The ceremony is designed to signal the beginning of the maple sap run which results in the production of maple syrup and an ever-increasing selection of delicious maple products.
Maple syrup production in the area predates European settlement with members of the local Indigenous community sharing their knowledge in this area with settlers. In a recent press release, the Eastern Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (EOMSPA) explained, “in Ontario over 3,000 ‘sugar-makers’ produce over 1-million litres of Canada’s original sweetener”.
Dr. Henry Lickers, environmental science officer for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and member of the Eastern Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association board of directors began the ceremony with a thanksgiving address near a small bonfire, that was followed by the insertion of the first tap into a nearby Maple tree, a short address by EOMSPA board member Frank Heerkens and the release of ceremonial tobacco into the fire.
In his address, Heerkens explained the maple syrup industry adds 60-million dollars into the Canadian economy and asked people to look for the Sweet Ontario brand when purchasing maple products. EOMSPA board member Angela Coleman, who, with husband Scott, runs Sand Road Maple Farm, commented to the Chesterville Record, the event provided producers with an opportunity to network as the season began and all who attended to enjoy the outdoors.
As the days become warmer and are followed by cold nights, the maple sap will begin to run and “the harvesting of Ontario’s first agricultural crop of the year” will begin with the resulting opportunity to once again proclaim how good things do grow in Ontario!