Spring 2017 saw Tanya and Hank excited to be continuing an 80 year family tradition of making Maple Syrup! Tanya’s Grandparents, Oscar & Emily McCready started making maple syrup in the 1930’s on their farm on Wolfe Island (part of the 1000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River) during the depression when sugar was a scarce commodity. Making maple syrup gave them sugar for their own use, but also for making baked goods for Emily to sell at the Kingston Farmer’s Market. Emily & Oscar’s children Winston, Evelyn and Eldon grew up making maple syrup and helped their parents continue the tradition as they started their own families and their children helped to. Spring brought the excitement to Tanya & her brother Ward of Maple Syrup time and going to the bush after school every day to collect the sap and bring it back for Grampa to boil down and then enjoy delicious treats that Gramma cooked with it!
Winterdance’s maple syrup operation is a bit more high tech than Tanya’s grandparents. Rather than 100 trees tapped there are 2000 trees tapped currently and rather than going to collect the sap each day from the buckets on trees, pipelines with gravity feed bring the sap down to the sugar shack on it’s own. The nature of the Winterdance sugar bush sees a 300′ drop from the top trees to the sugar shack. Tanya’s grandfather boiled his sap down to syrup on an old wood stove, while Hank boils with wood too, his evaporator is alot larger and more high tech, making maple syrup more of a science than the art it used to be for Tanya’s grandparents.
But the end result, is still delicious mouth watering, pure and natural Maple Syrup!
And the now 4th generation of children love maple syrup and maple syrup season as much as the generations before them did! From amber, dark and very dark maple syrup to various bottles, you can find Winterdance Maple Syrup at the trailhead in the winter, at the Eagle Lake Country Store year around. Our syrup can also be found in Fargo’s General Store on Wolfe Island and Blue Willow Tea Shop in Gravenhurst.
-Tanya’s grandparents in their very own “Winterdance Sugar Shack”
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