The sweetest festival in the sweetest season had the sweetest return at five different sugar bushes throughout Prince Edward County this weekend.
Celebrating 20 plus years, Maple in the County hosts and the participants were overjoyed to have the annual festival back on the calendar after a three year shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although weather played a factor in attendance and events on Saturday- for example wagon rides were cancelled at Sweetwater Cabin/Hubbs Sugarbush in Carrying Place- the event and its return seemed to be a big hit.
“We have been open all month of March on weekends and people are anxious to get out and taste and see people and just experience the old fashion hospitality that people bring,” Janice Hubbs told The Gazette. “It’s a very social and agricultural crop and we’re excited to have everybody back because we’ve missed everybody for a few years.”
The annual fundraising breakfast at Sweetwater Cabin was deemed a huge success with the Masons of Lake Lodge No. 215 running the annual pancake/sausage chow down.
And while the folks returned to the sugar bush this month, the sweet sap was running better than expected.
“Its been a super year for both production and quality,” added Ron Hubbs. “We haven’t had a lot of really warm weather, and that helps the bacteria from growing, so it’s been really, really super. It looks like there is going to be another two weeks left in the season, looking at the long range forecast, we should end up really well.”
George and Dawn Messer have been attending the breakfast at Hubbs Sugarbush for years and years and are so glad to have the event back.
“We are definitely glad Maple in The County is back, we love it!” said George Messer. “Coming to the breakfast, seeing old ex-neighbours and friends is definitely the highlight. We used to live across the road from Ron and we would go over and make ice cream in the back kitchen and that kind of stuff so love seeing old friends.”
LOHA Farms, run by Chris and Jess Armstrong, also hosted an all-day indoor pancake breakfast which participants enjoyed. Children and adults alike could then visit the animals in the barnyard or watch how maple syrup is made in their sugar shack.
“I think the production and quality has been really good, we’re producing about two litres a tree right now and the syrup is light but it’s been a good season so far,” Jess Armstrong stated. “The weather has definitely slowed things down a bit but we’re hoping for a really good day today. We’ve had a lot of kids out which is fun and the animals have been a big hit and the pancake breakfast is always a big hit, so it’s been good.”
Dawn Wade, visitor to LOHA Farms on Sunday for the pancake breakfast was very happy Maple in the County is back.
“My favourite part of Maple in The County is the pancakes, the maple syrup and all the food,” expressed Wade. “I’m absolutely happy Maple in The County is back, it’s great. I missed the last couple of years, and it’s good that it’s a good season.”
All maple hosts included in Maple in the County include:
- Sweetwater Cabin/Hubbs Sugarbush
- Fosterholm Farms
- Vader’s Maple Syrup
- Roblin’s Maple Syrup
- LOHA Farms
For more information on Maple in the County or the hosts sugar bushes please visit https://www.visitthecounty.com/maple-in-the-county/