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Maple syrup trip?

z
ziggystardust Mar 5, 2010 04:06 PM

Looks like we're in for some fine spring weekend this weekend. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a maple syrup (farm? plantation?) in and around Toronto that you can visit and sample/buy maple products?

  1. MiniMom Mar 24, 2010 08:52 AM

    Not in the GTA but Picton / Prince Edward county has maple fest this weekend. Huge events all around the area including the wineries. Budda dog etc..
    all the local vendors get in on it.
    http://www.mapleinthecounty.ca/

    4 Replies
    1. re: MiniMom
      Jacquilynne Mar 28, 2010 11:48 AM

      A few of us did this yesterday, and we had a tremendously fun day trip.

      That said, it was more of an opportunity to explore the food offerings of Prince Edward County in general than maple syrup in specific. Other than the actual sugaring operations (we went to Fosterholm Farms, where they were serving up maple syrup samples and some truly excellent pancakes), some of the maple stuff seemed, well, forced. The logic seemed to be 'in order to be included in this festival, we have to serve something maple-esque, even though we don't ordinarily do anything with maple, so we're going to do it and hope it brings people here to try the stuff we're actually good at.'

      Which is not a terrible thing -- as I said, we had a tremendously fun day trip. But if what you're looking for is all maple all the time, some of the stops will be a tad disappointing.

      I think I'd like to spend another day in PEC sometime in the summer -- they clearly have a lot to offer foodwise, and it would be great to see some of those vendors at a more seasonal time.

      The maple highlights for me were:

      - a maple coffee cake at Waring House Gourmet
      - maple shot chocolates at the Copper Kettle Chocolate Company
      - pancakes and maple syrup at Fosterholm

      I also really enjoyed the County Cider Company's ice cider, but that was non-maple.

      We were sad to have arrived at Seventh Town Alpaca after they ran out of the BBQ they were serving, but we did have fun meeting the Alpacas.

      1. re: Jacquilynne
        f
        fickle Mar 28, 2010 02:04 PM

        I really liked the maple shot also as well as the chipotle pepper bark from Copper Kettle. It was nice to have an opportunity to compare the light, medium and amber maple syrups side by side at Fosterholm. Kudos to the county for getting that many places on board. Here are my pix from the outing yesterday:

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/41249722...

        1. re: fickle
          TorontoJo Mar 28, 2010 02:17 PM

          My favourite nibble of the day was probably the maple chevre balls from Fifth Town Cheese -- balls of maple chevre rolled in maple sugar. They were mini goat cheesecake heaven.

          1. re: TorontoJo
            z
            ziggystardust Mar 30, 2010 07:28 PM

            OP here with a new query on the same topic; I'm a childless bachelor living downtown without a car. Is there any place where I can experience any of this goodness without facepainting or hay wagon rides and I can access without a car?

    2. b
      bytepusher Mar 11, 2010 01:42 PM

      For those of you that can't get out of the city, <b>Not Far From The Tree</b> the swinging urban fruit charity, is sugaring off the sap they have collected from trees here in the city on Sunday afternoon at Dufferin Grove Park.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bytepusher
        l
        longolame Mar 11, 2010 02:43 PM

        It will be interesting to see what they can produce from the Norway maples that they're tapping.
        I hope I can drop by.

      2. p
        peppermint pate Mar 11, 2010 12:59 PM

        Of the various places mentioned and linked, are any better for little kids? I'd prefer a place within a half-hour drive of downtown, something with a hayride or maybe just space to run around, pancakes, etc. Thanks.

        8 Replies
        1. re: peppermint pate
          l
          longolame Mar 11, 2010 02:47 PM

          I think Kortright is the closest for the type of activities you're looking for. Maybe more the 1/2 hr from downtown though. See my previous post for list of festivals where you can find a google map of the actual location, plus a video review.

          1. re: peppermint pate
            c
            cheesymama Mar 11, 2010 04:45 PM

            Kortright is great, but a lot of trekking over uneven ground, not great for really young kids (maybe 4 and older). Bruce's Mill offers the same stuff (wagon ride, ponies and a look at the evolution of maple syrup production) on a smaller scale, much more manageable with young kids. And as a bonus Bruce's Mill is right near "Safety Village" (a miniature town where they teach kids about safety) and it was open to the public when we went during March Break a couple of year's ago. Last year we went to Horton's Tree Farm and enjoyed the experience except for the pancakes. We were served burnt pancakes despite having asked specifically for other pancakes. But, it does have the wagon ride and some fun stuff for the kids to look at and it was nice to go to a privately run operation.
            If you're going for the experience I would take young kids to Bruce's Mill.

            1. re: cheesymama
              mikeb Mar 12, 2010 08:21 AM

              We were at Kortright last week. It was very busy. They had horses, demos etc.

              It is true that the open maple syrup demos are down a bumpy hill. It was also very muddy. If you do go with a stroller, you can go to the old fashioned demo then the modern demo without too much trouble. We were advised go back the same way after the modern demo. It is a much easier walk.

              1. re: mikeb
                p
                peppermint pate Mar 12, 2010 01:23 PM

                Thanks all of you for the kid-friendly recs - either Kortright or Bruce's Mill sound perfect. I went on to their websites and it sounds like they have some face painting, juggling and other stuff going on over the next couple of weeks as well. We wouldn't be using the stroller and a bit of mud and bumpy paths don't phase me (though I'll skip this rainy week-end for our visit) - the scale of Bruce's Mill sounds lovely. Plus now I'm curious to check out "Safety Village" - who knew there was such a thing?

                1. re: peppermint pate
                  p
                  peppermint pate Mar 24, 2010 04:34 AM

                  So we ended up going to Bruce's Mill and had a GREAT time. It's a perfect scale for the "under 5 set" - easy to get around the various activities which included wagon rides, pony rides, face painting, a guided maple syrup trail walk, wood carving demo and a little enclosure where you could feed some goats, sheep and a llama! I found the prices on the maple syrup and the requisite maple leaf syrup lollipop to be quite reasonable. Our only disappointment was the l-o-n-g line-up for food (pancakes, sausages, hot dogs) which we had to skip. We ran out of time for the Safety Community Village but it looked interesting for another visit. And only about a 1/2 hour drive from downtown. Thanks again!!

              2. re: cheesymama
                s
                sivagirl Mar 23, 2010 04:13 PM

                Has anyone heard of the maple syrup dinner at Kortright centre?
                Is this an annual event, has anyone ever attended this? and is this ok for kids?

                This year the centre is participating in "Earth Hour" so the dinner is being served by candlelight. It is followed by an evening hike and bonfire..

                1. re: sivagirl
                  m
                  maniacmich Mar 28, 2010 11:15 AM

                  We went to the Kortright centre maple syrup dinner this past weekend. It wasn't that great, tbh. I realize that this is a fundraising event for Kortright, but frankly I expected a little more than rubbery buffet goodness and store bought dessert squares for the cost. It also took close to 1.5 hours to get ~120 ppl through the buffet line, and another hour or so to get everyone through the hike. Other than the drop of syrup tasted during the hike and a few maple carrots, there was very little maple syrup involved!

                  They also never really dimmed the lights for Earth Hour, despite the fact that they sort of sold it that way on their website.

                  I can see this being a fun, informal event for families with kids who like to run around and groups who are just going out to have a family oriented, laid back good time. We didn't stay after the hike, so the maple syrup could have been flowing heavily afterwards.

                  1. re: maniacmich
                    s
                    sivagirl Mar 30, 2010 06:35 PM

                    Good to know that we did not miss much, apparently this was a sold out event. I was actually sold on the dining by candlelight, and thought it would be a great experience for the kids. Maybe Next year, it will be a little better organized. Thanks for the feedback!

            2. Crispier Crouton Mar 8, 2010 08:58 AM

              For a rule of thumb on when it's best to go: the sap flows best when it's below zero at night and above zero in the day. So this week might even be a bit warm. But I'm sure it'll still be fun no matter when you go.

              1. kawarthagirl Mar 8, 2010 07:40 AM

                For a fun daytrip: http://www.mcleanberryfarm.com/ - Buckhorn Maple Fest! :)

                1. m
                  mikefly Mar 6, 2010 11:37 AM

                  Was at Kortright today - didn't follow the maple trail, as it was full of small children, but it seemed like they were giving out maple samples along the walk .. mmmm.

                  (If memory serves, runs Mar 6-11)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mikefly
                    d
                    dory Mar 6, 2010 02:05 PM

                    Actually the Maple Syrup Festival at Kortright runs from March 6 until April 11.

                    1. re: dory
                      m
                      mikefly Mar 7, 2010 09:44 AM

                      Makes way more sense. Thanks for the catch.

                  2. g
                    gooditsall Mar 6, 2010 11:17 AM

                    Next weekend (Mar 13 & 14) is the Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival. www.warkworthmaplesyrupfestival.ca Lots to see and do. Can't say I recommend the food at the sugar bush (taffy excepted, of course) but ya never know.

                    1. l
                      longolame Mar 6, 2010 05:06 AM

                      There's an up to date list with videos, reviews, maps, admission prices, etc. at http://www.globurban.com/maplestuff.html

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: longolame
                        z
                        ziggystardust Mar 6, 2010 06:18 AM

                        That's great, thanks.

                      2. j
                        jaymando Mar 6, 2010 04:20 AM

                        The Globe and Mail had a piece about this maple syrup festival that starts this weekend...

                        http://trca.on.ca/maplesyrup/

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jaymando
                          picholine Mar 6, 2010 04:44 AM

                          I think it's still a bit early for sap to start flowing. This weekend may get it started though.

                          I went to Kortright couple of years ago, also Bruce Mills (Warden and Stouffville Rd) had a small but fun festival.

                        2. z
                          ziggystardust Mar 5, 2010 08:07 PM

                          Thanks for the info, it's too bad I made such a hash of the first sentence.

                          1. p
                            PrincessStress Mar 5, 2010 06:47 PM

                            I think Bronte Creek Park is open on the weekends in March for maple syrup festival. Mention 'sinzibuckwud' and you can get a free piece of candy.
                            http://www.ontarioparksinsider.com/6/...
                            Hope this helps :)

                            1. Wiley Mar 5, 2010 06:14 PM

                              It's not this weekend, but the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival is worth visiting...Saturday March 27 this year.

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