One of our favourite ways to welcome Spring in Algoma Country is maple syrup season. Nothing beats the taste of fresh, sweet maple syrup served over a stack of steaming hot pancakes. Talk to anyone from our region and they'll tell you we have the best maple syrup -- maybe it's because of our clean air and healthy maple trees but personally I think it's because of the hard work, dedication and family traditions that are put into every batch of maple syrup. And where does some of the best maple syrup in Algoma Country come from? St. Joseph Island!
A wealth of hard maple trees plus family tradition has put St. Joseph Island on the map as being the largest center of maple syrup producers in Ontario -- there are approximately thirty maple syrup producers who proudly produce 18% of Ontario's maple syrup. In fact, St. Joseph Island is renowned for its flavourful pure maple syrup and modern production techniques.
If you're never sampled St. Joseph Island maple syrup, this is something that you should be planning to do right now -- plan to come up this Spring for the annual St. Joseph Island Maple Syrup Festival. Or, plan a vacation on St. Joseph Island this summer and purchase maple syrup products as gifts and tasty souvenirs.
St. Joseph Island Maple Syrup Festival is held the first and second weekend of April each year at 1534 10th Side Road, Richards Landing.
One maple syrup producer whose delicious products I've had the pleasure of sampling is Mountain Maple Products. Old technology and modern equipment, limestone base soils, clean air and healthy hard maple trees gives Mountain Maple an edge producing natural, excellent favoured maple syrup. Now in its 50th year of production, this 6500 tap operation produces an abundance of maple products.
This is the story of Mountain Maple Products: A TASTE OF NATURE IS A HEALTHY CHOICE!
It all started with the Wallace Clan located in Hemmingford, Quebec. As a young boy, Ches Wallace remembers helping at the Wallace homestead where maple syrup has been made since the mid 1700s.
In 1964, St. Joseph Island captured his heart and with permission from his lovely wife Fran, they purchased a 100 acre lot of beautiful hard maple trees and established Mountain Maple Products. Pioneering with maple tubing and vacuum systems they tapped 300 trees. Ches welcomed the help from many enthusiastic young boys and he passed on his knowledge of maple sugaring. Many of those sugar bush boys have grown to become major producers today.
In 1986, Don Manchur became a valuable working partner and together with his family continued this spring time tradition.
Where to Buy Mountain Maple Products
Mountain Maple Products takes great pride in their maple syrup and is proud to be a part of the Northern Ontario Pavilion at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, the largest indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world. Mountain Maple Products has also been serving their syrup at the Massey Marathon and at the Hymers Fair near Thunder Bay, Ontario for over 25 years!
Mountain Maple Products' pure maple syrup, maple butter, maple candy, and maple sugar can be found in 22 outlets, farmers' markets, country fairs and by farm gate from Toronto to Thunder Bay. Their maple products have be sold as gifts to 26 different countries around the world. For a list of locations check out the website www.mountainmapleproducts.ca or Facebook.
Now, it's even easier to purchase Mountain Maple Products. Visit their booth at Mill Market located on the waterfront in Sault Ste. Marie. You can also purchase Maple BBQ Sauce, Maple Butter and Maple-Infused Beef Jerky.
Mill Market Hours of Operation (Winter/Spring)
Saturdays 10 am - 2 pm