If you are not a winter person, (and we are undoubtedly not), you will have that moment in the season where you are exhaling and thinking to yourself, “it is almost over”. For us that moment happens when we see the first silver sap bucket placed on a bare maple. One of the first pictures we ever took of our neighbourhood was that of a solitary tree decked out in its finest. It was such an unusual sight for us city folk, and little did we know that the inn was located right next to a real life sugar shack. To be honest our ignorance was farther reaching and did not comprehend the long standing tradition of the harvesting of the liquid gold on the island.
When we were planning our menu’s, make no mistake it was the pancake that it centered around. We have the perfect made fresh from scratch recipe where maple syrup is the perfect compliment. The first weekend we stayed in the house before we had opened it to guests, we were playing around with some dishes. We had noticed our neighbours were selling maple syrup from their front porch so we went to have a peek at the options. As excited as we were for the syrup, we were absolutely giddy over the honour pay system that they had where you leave your cash and take your syrup, it literally couldn’t be sweeter. So with a little bottle of their light syrup (at the time we did not realize how coveted the Very Dark Syrup was, now we know better) and some maple candies as decoration for plating. We believe this was the exact moment our love affair started.
Now I can introduce you to the producers! Just down the lane from us (Keller’s Crossroad) you will find Koopmans Maple Mountain, run by Chris and Carrie Koopmans with help from their super adorable children and Great Dane Gus. An approximately 20 minute picturesque walk from the inn or a quick 5 minute drive ( ROAD NOT MAINTAINED, it is more of a working road for tractors etc) you will find sitting at the base of a hill a maze of blue piping, the old school pails and of course the shack. The sugar shack gives off the notion that it is sitting in the middle of an island as you cross the bridge over a crystal clear stream.
What started as a hobby with ten taps, Koopmans Maple Mountain has now been producing for over 20 years with an operation of around 900 taps. We had a delightful experience last spring! The campfire kept us toasty while we were outside exploring the mountain (lots of rural legends about the First Nation people who lived in this territory, more on that later in a future post). We were greeted enthusiastically by Gus and took a moment to check out the muddy construction site that the kids had put together. After a nice relaxing moment by the fire we went into the shack where the magic is happening. All of the trees are tapped and then the syrup is brought down the hill by a vacuum system, if you look carefully you can see the translucent liquid sugar . A traditional wood fire burns away and the sap is boiled down to syrup. We just didn’t realize the art and processes involved with making the syrup, to see all the effort and time put into each batch from start to finish it was a true treat.
Maple Weekend is happening this year the weekend of April 4-5th , an assortment of Maple Syrup producers across Ontario will be open for the public to discover, taste and be a part of this incredible harvest; Chris and Carrie, will be hosting so come and visit Koopmans Maple Mountain, maybe we will see you there because we know we will be visiting again!
We will be serving delicious maple inspired breakfast all weekend, and like always you are treated to a mini bottle of Koopmans Maple Mountain syrup, take a sweet break and join us for a truly Canadian weekend. BOOK NOW.