The sweetest crown jewel in the sweetest season returns to Prince Edward County next weekend. After a three year hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Maple in the County is back.
Organizers joined together with local media and political leaders at Fosterholm Farms Friday to trumpet the return of Maple in the County to the Prince Edward County social event calendar.
“Maple in the County has always been the county’s biggest festival,” said Ron Hubbs of Sweetwater Cabin and chair of the Maple In the County committee. “And it happens so this year, we’re actually meeting today under the March Maple moon.”
This year’s event has five maple producers participating just like the five lobes of a maple leaf and the 2023 edition is dedicated in the memory of Mary Vader, the matriarch of Vader Farms on East Lake who have produced Maple Syrup since 1910.
“The number five is a significant number to us this year,” Hubbs stated. “Our group is a lot smaller. COVID has caused us some tough times in the group, but if you think about it, a maple leaf has five lobes and there is five producers in this years event. I think that’s kind of significant.”
The five maple producers, which Hubbs called the nucleus of local maple producers, include:
- Clifford, Dean & Rylan Foster of Fosterholm Farms
- Todd & Sue Vader of Vader’s Maple
- Chris & Jess Armstrong of Loha Farms
- Phil & Brittany Roblin of Roblin’s Maple
- Ron & Janice Hubbs of Sweetwater Cabin
County of Prince Edward Mayor Steve Ferguson noted how Maple in the County was both a binder for the community and a great kick off to the spring and summer season and how much the annual event has been missed by both locals and visitors alike.
“The last time this occurred was at Loha Farm in 2019 and at the time I talked about the health benefits of maple syrup,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “But here we are a few years later and this event has been part of my routine and my kid’s routine for many, many years so I’m delighted that we’re going to have this weekend back up and running. It’s very important to our businesses, its very important to our families, its just important to our community because it brings people together. It’s absolutely wonderful that we can socialize and reengage with our community and maple syrup and maple syrup producers are a huge part of it. I look forward to the weekend.”
Adam Bramburger, Former Gazette editor and Constituency Office Manager for Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, brought greetings in place of the provincial legislator who was out of the area on Ministry of Energy duties and thanked local syrup producers for staying the course during uncertain times and rejoining in 2023 to bring back a beloved festival.
“Maple was actually my introduction to the county and what makes this place special years ago and I keep coming back for it, not just for Nora’s sweet tarts which make the event, but because of what this weekend is really about,” Bramburger said . “Ron will tell you that maple is the star, but I really think it’s the people who are here, who share their tradition with us year after year and make it a special thing that we have. From a provincial government perspective were also thrilled that people are not only coming here to the sugar bushes but there coming to the restaurants and stores in town, just the county in general to see what a great place this is. So its a great weekend, I’m so excited that your back, I know Todd is so excited that your back, so welcome back and lets enjoy this sweet weekend and thank you again for all you do for all of us.”
Bay of Quinte MP Ryan Williams also was enthused by the return of Maple.
“It’s so great to have people back out celebrating, traveling, spending money in the area, and of course that’s good for everyone,” said Bay of Quinte’s MP Ryan Williams. “So I really want to wish you all the best success for a growing festival, to grow our farms, to celebrate maple in the county as a whole existence and behalf of the federal government have a sweet festival and a great couple weeks here.”
East Lake in Prince Edward County has always been a main maple producing area for Prince Edward County with the Vader and Foster maple bushes a few kilometres apart. Together, these county farms have over 200 years of maple syrup making experience.
“East Lake has always kind of been a traditional maple syrup making area,” expressed Hubbs. “I think back into the 50’s and 60’s when I was growing up, really the only two names that you heard of that were making syrup were Foster’s and Vader’s. And there were a few other people around. But this is certainly been, here in PEC, a major hub of the maple industry in this county.”
Hubbs then talked about three points about maple syrup.
“When you talk about maple syrup you have got to talk about these three points,” Hubbs stated. “The first is, maple syrup is known as Canada’s oldest agricultural crop. Secondly, the maple seed is the longest producing seed on the farm. And third, its the first agricultural crop harvested each year.”
For more information please visit www.visitthecounty.com/maple-in-the-county
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