March 8 to April 4!
Tap into Maple hits the sweet spot
There’s no doubt many adventures await you in Orillia & Lake Country during the winter. Groomed trails make the perfect conditions for snowmobiling, skiing, ice fishing and skating. But as the days and nights get warmer, and sap starts flowing through maple trees, the sweetest trail you’ll find in Central Ontario is the one that will lead you to all things maple in the Orillia area.
Between March 8 and April 4, take the self-tour through lesser-traveled routes to working sugar shacks that offer a firsthand view of the maple syrup process, from harvesting and boiling to enjoying.
“When someone visits The FarmGate, they will see maple syrup being boiled outside in the open air with steam flowing continuously,” says owner Bert Harrington, who was eight years old when his family started helping their neighbour make maple syrup. It was an experience that led him to start his own operation 12 years ago.
“We are more than willing to talk to people for as long as it takes to learn about this uniquely Canadian product. And, of course, they can acquire some great tasting maple syrup.”
The FarmGate, just outside of Brechin, joins a number of syrup producers that are offering COVID-safe ways to enjoy their products during Tap into Maple.
As soon as Mother Nature brings temperatures of -5 at night and 5 degrees during the day, Michele O’Sullivan of Hutchinson Maple Syrup, in Oro-Medonte will be offering maple syrup, maple sugar candy, maple butter and maple jam.
“To keep our guests safe and healthy, we are asking them to call ahead and make an appointment to visit the sugar shack,” she says. Bring your masks, and hand sanitizer will be provided.
The roadside stand at Maple Grove Syrup in Severn Township will offer contactless pickup of maple syrup in a variety of sizes and packaging, as well as granulated maple sugar and melt-in-your-mouth soft sugar candy (upon request).
“We’ll offer socially distanced demonstrations when we are in production and will be pre-booking timeslots on our website,” says Brent Beers. “All visitors will be required to distance and wear a mask visiting the sugar camp.” Be sure to book your visit on their website!
Hewitt’s Farm Market & Bakery will also have maple goodies for visitors to their store in Warminster. Enjoy Hewitt’s Pure Maple Syrup, maple pecan muffins, lollipops, suckers, toffee and maple sugar, as well as maple barbecue sauces, bacon, sausages, butter, fudge and loaves.
Wear a mask and sanitize your hands before entering. There might be a slight wait as only eight shoppers are allowed in the store at a time. But it will be worth it!
If you find yourself in Orillia’s beautiful downtown core, then stop into Apple Annie’s Café & Shop during Tap Into Maple to enjoy store-made maple and maple-walnut fudge, maple candy, as well as maple syrup and butter. There will also be special pastries and lunch inside the café, as well as maple drinks, including a delicious Maple-Cinnamon latte.
Masks are required and so is adherence to social distancing protocols. There will be hand sanitizer at both doors as well as a short health survey.
Get ready to indulge your sweet tooth at the socially distanced Tap into Maple experience!
Support Local, Shop Local
Just outside of Brechin in Ramara Township, you can find The FarmGate. At The FarmGate you can see the steam rise as Bert boils the sap for all to see. Check out their maple products!
Shaws Maple Syrup has been tapping their trees for our 100 years! This maple syrup hotspot offers self-guided sugarbush tours, indoor and outdoor seating for pancake meals, maple syrup, and more. Be sure to call ahead.
Enjoy Hewitt’s Pure Maple Syrup, maple pecan muffins, and many other maple treats. Wear a mask and sanitize your hands before entering. There might be a slight wait as only eight shoppers are allowed in the store at a time. But it will be worth it!
Enjoy store-made maple and maple-walnut fudge, maple candy, as well as maple syrup and butter. There will also be special pastries and lunch inside the café, as well as maple drinks, including a delicious Maple-Cinnamon latte.
Shop for special maple related nuts. Instore and online shopping available. Instore face masks are required and 1 shopping group at a time.
Era 67 is a local favourite and will offer a special maple menu during Tap Into Maple. With limited indoor seating available, be sure to order takeout!