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Fall in Love with Maple fall tour brings visitors to Breedon’s farm

October 13, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

When you think of spring in Ontario, a new season of maple syrup production always comes to mind.

However, the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association decided to introduce a fall colours tour to farms in the province. As the cooler weather arrives, the trees in sugar maple areas burst into various shades of orange and red as the trees get ready to shed their leaves for the winter. 

Twenty-three sugar bushes are taking part in the tour. 

Breedon’s Maple Syrup in Adjala-Tosorontio welcomed visitors to their treed lot and maple syrup production facilities for two weekends and gave tours of the bush.

Many groups who visited the farm were from large urban centres and have never been on a farm.

Breedon’s taps around 5,000 trees on their Concession Rd. 3, property, and with other properties they own or work on, have a total of around 12,000 trees with that number expected to increase.

“We work our property, our neighbours beside us, and another woods on the 7th Line of Mono, so it actually comes from four separate woods,” explained Kent Breedon, who along with his wife Dawn, operate the farm. “We gather all that sap and bring and process it here. We made 25,000 litres last year.”

Creating maple syrup is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of maintenance. The Breedons have around 100 miles of tubing that snakes through the woods connecting the trees together which are all fed into a main line. A vacuum system pulls the syrup through the line. 

The syrup must be boiled down to create the final product. The collected sap ratio for the final product is around 40 to one, as much of the sap is water, it evaporates during the heating process.

“It takes a lot of sap to make a little bit of syrup, and it takes a lot energy to get it to be syrup,” Kent explained. “It takes a tree 40 years to grow big enough to tap. If I planted a small tree, I will never be able to tap it – but somebody will.”

For most people a walk in the woods means seeing lots of trees, and some they can identify. A sugar maple is a special kind of tree, that from a glance really doesn’t look much different than any other maple tree. With so much experience, Kent can easily spot a sugar maple.

“I can tell by the leaves,” Kent said. “I can tell you every tree in the woods just by looking at them. I know every species of tree in these woods. We have hickory, elm, soft maple in the wetter spots, oak, ash, butternut, all different species [of] trees in there. This time of year, we are little more laid back and we can show people the farm and how it all works.”

All that hard work produces a product that Canada is well known for and can only be produced for a short period each season. Kent said they attach the lines to the trees around February 15 to 20 each year, then wait for the weather to change. Each tree will produce around two litres of syrup per tree.

As soon as the temperature goes above zero degrees, the sap begins to flow.

The final product ranges from dark syrups to lighter versions depending how early or late it is in the season.

The Breedons sell their syrup at 25 stores within a half an hour radius and also at the St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto.

They sell their product at the Sugar Shack on the Concession Rd. 3 farm as well, and are open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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