Go­ing with the flow

The Glengarry News - - Farming -

Man plans and God laughs. Or, as ev­ery maple syrup pro­ducer knows, Mother Na­ture rules. That is why mak­ing pre­dic­tions about sugar sea­son is akin to mak­ing long-term weather fore­casts. Sap was run­ning and was on the boil last week­end as the 2019 pro­duc­tion sea­son kicked into full swing. The flow has been typ­i­cally un­pre­dictable, notes Nicholas Souligny as he watches boil­ing syrup pour from a su­per-ef­fi­cient evap­o­ra­tor at Erablière Souligny near Dun­ve­gan. “It’s ei­ther strong or noth­ing,” adds Mr. Souligny.

The sugar op­er­a­tion started by his grand­fa­ther Lau­rent Souligny, and Lau­rent’s brother, Ger­main, pro­duced its first batch Fe­bru­ary 22 last year.

“It’s a month later than last year,” adds Nicholas Souligny.

Cold nights and warm days are re­quired to get the sap flow­ing. But a fluc­tu­a­tion can halt the flow and even abruptly end the en­tire sea­son. When trees be­gin bud­ding, sug­ar­ing-off time is over. How long will the sea­son last this year? Lau­rent Souligny looks sky­ward. “You never know. Na­ture will de­cide.”

The Soulignys’ “L’or de Dun­ve­gan Gold” syrup is pro­duced on a 60-acre, 6,000-tap maple tract of land that has been owned by the fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions.

About 60,000 feet of pip­ing and a vac­uum sys­tem col­lect sap and send the sweet liq­uid to reser­voirs.

A re­verse os­mo­sis method re­moves ex­cess liq­uid, leav­ing a con­cen­trated sap which means that the boil­ing process, us­ing a propane-fired evap­o­ra­tor, is shorter and cheaper.

Maple Week­end

The Blyth Road op­er­a­tion is one of the stops on the itin­er­ary of Maple Week­end, be­ing held April 6 and 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at sev­eral sugar bushes through­out Eastern On­tario.

Maple week­end gives you a first-hand op­por­tu­nity to see how maple prod­ucts are pro­duced, from tree to ta­ble, along with the chance to taste and pur­chase qual­ity maple prod­ucts.

Sugar mak­ers are invit­ing you to share in the cen­turies-old craft of maple sug­ar­ing. Come and talk to the pro­duc­ers in your lo­cal area. They will be happy to share how their op­er­a­tion works.

Visit maple­week­end.ca for more de­tails.

LATE START: (Top left) Nicholas Souligny uses a float test; he and Luc The­o­ret keep an eye on an evap­o­ra­tor. Lau­rent Souligny and his “gold.”

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