Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Sugar Shack

While this event is over by nearly two weeks now, I thought I would give a small shout out to the sugar shack that was hosted on Sugar Beach.  I guess I had expected more of a focus on learning how maple syrup was made, but this was more about setting up a number of stalls selling things that were for the most part only the most tangentially related to maple syrup.  I suppose I was hoping for a more sober discussion of tapping the trees, and it just didn't occur to me that since there are no maple trees to speak of in the downtown and certainly not right along the beach, that part of the story would be quite neglected.  When I was growing up, we went to these sorts of events once or twice, but we also lived in areas better covered by maples and the kids could actually see the tapped trees and the lucky ones could carry the full pails of sap into the sugar shack.

I don't want to say that this was completely commercial, as if one really wanted one could learn despite the overall nature of the event, which was mostly about consuming maple syrup (and many other things) rather than making it.  There was a group of people boiling down the sap (and a lot of smoke from this part of the demonstration), and you could even drink the refined sap, which was still only about 1/3 of the way to becoming maple syrup.  So that was cool, and I tried to point these aspects of the event out to the kids.

In general, I think they were more interested in the ice sculptures.  I will admit that these ice trays were neat, and this was where they made maple taffy on-the-spot using freshly-made maple syrup and snow (trucked in from somewhere).

On the whole, it was fun and probably the closest urban kids can come to the full sugar shack experience, but next time I'll see if there is a place in the north that shows the whole tree to bottle experience.  I may have mentioned that I think the tree in our backyard is a variety of maple, but I don't really have the patience to boil the sap down after I collect it, so I think it will go untapped for the time being.

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