From what I gather there are just a hand full of things that really define Canadians as Canadians, one of them being maple syrup. Somehow a bottle of Grade A 100% Pure American Maple Syrup just doesn’t have the same ring. Admittedly, despite my nationality, my experience with the ever so sweet and luxurious maple sap was formerly limited. Before yesterday I had never seen the clear cool water dripping from a tree, I had never tasted the northern nectar or smelled the scent of burning cedar as it heated the iron barrels in which the sap boils to syrup.
Lucky for me I got to do and see all of these things Saturday afternoon. My work colleague and friend brought me out to her boyfriend’s place where the two of them are living a happy pioneer life. They haven’t quite managed to make their lifestyle there sustainable, she still works with me at the Gallery full time and he goes back and forth between his rural property and Toronto for work, but the two of them have cozied up and are making a go at homesteading.
It was all so idyllic. It was almost enough to make me forget my urban ambitions for a cabin in the woods. I’m not there yet, but a simpler life is definitely something we should all spire to. It’s no wonder that a good bottle of 100% pure Canadian maple syrup costs upwards of $15. These two have a very small scale production line, which means that the amount of work needed to produce just a few litres of syrup is tremendous. I know that it’s not possible for everyone to make their own syrup, grow their own plants and keep their own livestock, but yesterday reminded me how important it is for those of us who don’t do these things to appreciate the process that others go through to bring these divine treats like maple syrup to our breakfast table. Even more we have to support these wonderful growers and local producers at all costs so that traditional methods of food production are not lost.