#CelebrateMapleSeason in Hastings County

In Hastings County, maple syrup is more than a sticky-sweet accompaniment to pancakes… or bacon, or salad dressing… it’s a way of life for producers who have been tapping their trees for decades. Maple has been a hot commodity for as long as it’s been produced in the region, and one of the first celebrations of the spring occurs with the maple harvest. “Quinte Gold” might typically refer to the walleye of the Bay, but some of us are more inclined to use the name in reference to the amber nectar produced in Hastings County.

Did you know that Canada produces 71% of the world’s maple syrup and with six local maple producers in our own backyard? This March, it’s time to get outside and see exactly how your favourite Canadian flavour is made!

An Iroquois legend suggests that maple syrup was discovered by a young boy, after watching a squirrel break off a twig from a maple tree and drink the nectar. He tried the method and noticed the sweetness of the nectar of the tree. Syrup was collected by making a V-shaped gash in the trunk of a maple tree, and poured out over curved pieces of wood or bark. Sugar bushes around Hastings County offer hands-on experiences, where you can learn how the syrup gets from the tree to your plate.
 
Maple was originally used in curing scurvy, and we still like to tout it’s health benefits to this day. Don’t feel guilty about smothering your favourite breakfast food in maple syrup because not only is maple syrup good for pancakes it is healthy for you too. With high levels of zinc and manganese it helps keep your heart healthy, boosts your immune system and is full of antioxidants.

The pinnacle of taste testing, you’ll find pancake breakfasts hosted at the sugar shacks throughout March and April. We admit: we’ve been hoarding our supply of local syrup since last year, but luckily, now is the time to stock up! Take the tour and congratulate nearby Curles Maple Products on their 150th anniversary, or check out O’Hara Sugar Maples, who just won first place for their sweet maple candy at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Here’s where to find the sweet stuff across Hastings County. Don’t forget to tag #CelebrateMapleSeason for your springtime adventures at the sugar shacks!

Shaws Eldoro Maple
McEwan Maple
Fleetbreeze
Trillium Ridge Sugarworks
Palmateer Farms
O’Hara Sugar Maples
Derry Farms
Friendly Acres
Three Maples Sugar Camp

Written by: Stephanie Maltais, Bay of Quinte Tourism (http://tourism.bayofquinte.ca/things-to-do/food-and-drink/maple-in-hasti...)