where to get light maple syrup?
a few years ago, hubby and i visited a sugar shack outside of ottawa. i'd been to a sugar shack once or twice as a kid ...but i'd say i'm pretty much a neophyte when it comes to maple syrup (i can tell the difference between the real stuff and whatever the aunt jemima stuff is!). anyway, we did the 'touristy' thing and had the pancake breakfast there. at the tables, the folks had put out a VERY light maple syrup. it was DELISH! i asked some of the people there and they explained that it was a grade A syrup. so, of course, i bought some but have since run out. i've poked around at some of the usual retailers (grocery stores, costco, heck, even the touristy stores selling canadiana) but can only find grade b, medium syrup. at the etobicoke farmers market last year, i bought some medium syrup from one of the stands. it's very good but i really want some of the light stuff.
i know the season is starting up again and was wondering if anyone can tell me where to get light maple syrup? preferably in the west-end GTA? but i'm willing to travel. also, i'm up in the waterloo area once a week for work so i could even go there for syrup.
Saturday at the St. Jacobs Farmer's Market, the Mennonites sell maple syrup from the stalls just outside of the east end of the market. Depending on the year, sometimes all you can get is medium grade. It depends on whether we get a gradual rise in temperatures in the coming weeks, or a rapid rise. A rapid rise leads to a lower grade of syrup and a darker colour. A gradual rise provides you with that light maple syrup. Nothing beats hit and a one litre jug sits nicely in the fridge.
The new crop should be out within the next month.
There is nothing wrong, or inferior about grade B medium. It has more flavor and it is much easier to find than Grade A.
thanks so much for the tips!!! i guess i'll see how the weather patterns play out over the next few weeks. i'm not too far from the st. jacobs market when i'm in waterloo for work ... maybe i can try on a thursday when the market is open. otherwise, i'll check out the st. lawrence market. thanks!!!
"... and what am i looking for? a farm? a store? a sign?..."
Any of the above if you accept a seasonal stand as a store.
Head north on King St past the Wallmart and the next left should be Lobsinger Line where you turn left towards Heidelberg. This is probably about a klik from the market district but you will be out of the city and come upon a lot of interesting producers - chickens, ducks, eggs, seasonal and winter-stored produce, baked goods, summer sausage, all kinds of meats... and maple syrup. Farm families post their specialties prominently on roadside signs.
Suggest you run as far as Millbank - in addition to farm gate you will come across: Martin's Orchards shortly after you turn onto Lobsinger; Stemmler Meats and the Heidelberg Inn in Heidelberg; and Annie Mae's Restaurant and Millbank Cheese in Millbank.
Take 85 north to the roundabout and follow it north to Wallenstein and beyond. There are few commercial sources here but perhaps a greater number of family operations.
As a sidebar:
If you prefer ligh syrup the sap should start this coming week (some producers may already be boiling) certainly by the week following.
First, I should say that I am in no way a maple syrup expert, but your post made me wonder about what grade my maple syrup is because it is called Canada No. 1 light. I did some quick research and the various sites I visited seem to suggest that the letter grades are US grades and Canadian grades go by number. If the sites I came across can be trusted, it appears that my Kirkland's Canada No. 1 light maple syrup would be called Grade A medium. My husband and I like it and the price of $14.99 for a 1 litre jug sure makes it economical. Perhaps you might be interested in giving it a try? You can find it at Costco.
We make our own. We tap about 90 trees at our cottage property. While the light is "pretty", for flavour I've always preferred the mid grade. The really dark syrup is best for cooking/baking with in my opinion, it adds the most intense flavour.