02 Mar

Syrup producers ready for medal-worthy performance at Maple in the County

Prince Edward County, ON – With sap already flowing through maple trees in The County, maple producers are diving into preparations for this year’s Maple in the County on March 24-25.

While the syrup will look the same, local producers will be assigning different grades this year, as Ontario and Prince Edward County maple producers join jurisdictions across North America in fully adopting a new standardized grading system.

“In the spirit of the recent Winter Olympics, we’re seeing the new grades of golden, amber and dark looking a lot like gold, silver and bronze,” says Ron Hubbs, owner of Hubbs Sugarbush and Sweetwater Cabin.

Maple syrup was once graded by five shades, ranging from extra light to dark. Under the new system, maple syrup will be either golden, amber, dark or very dark. Producers determine the grades at bottling using a colour comparison chart.

“One isn’t necessarily better than another; it’s all a matter of personal taste preferences. The darker the colour, the stronger the maple flavour,” says Mr. Hubbs, who also chairs the Maple in the County planning committee.

Presented with support from Sobeys and the County of Prince Edward Community Development Department, the event features pancake breakfasts, taffy on snow, s’mores and other maple-inspired treats, as well as a variety of activities such as face painting, local music, petting zoos, wagon rides, lumberjack shows, artisan vendors and more.

Participating local sugarbushes include: Sweetwater Cabin/Hubbs Sugarbush, Fosterholm Farms, Vader’s Maple Syrup, Nyman Farms, LOHA Farms, Sugarbush Vineyards, Waupoos Estates Winery & Sugarbush, Walt’s Sugar Shack, Strictly Maple, Three Dog Winery & Sugarbush, Roblin’s Maple Syrup and Justin’s Maple Syrup.

Maple in the County, now in its 17th year, is considered to be the unofficial start of The County’s busy tourism season. The event attracts between 10,000 and 15,000 visitors from around the region for an authentic County experience.

Maple in the County extends well beyond the sugarbush, into local restaurants, wineries and breweries, with the venues offering special menus and pairings designed to highlight the sweetness of syrup.

“This is the essence of a weekend in The County, showcasing the agricultural heart of the community but with the additional support of renowned restaurants, wineries and craft breweries,” says Neil Carbone, Director of Community Development. “Having 12 sugarbushes to explore is a great way to see the entirety of The County.”

Additional family-friendly activities include free public skating at the Prince Edward Community Centre on March 24 and 25 from 1:30-3 pm.

A free family movie will also play at The Regent Theatre in Picton on March 25 at 2 pm, sponsored by Whattams Funeral Home.

A full list of participating sugarbushes, activities and events is online at mapleinthecounty.ca. Look for the iconic “Maple Map” available throughout Prince Edward County and in local newspapers.

For more information, contact Karen Palmer, Destination Development and Marketing Coordinator, County of Prince Edward, at 613.476.2148 ext. 2505 or kpalmer@pecounty.on.ca.

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For media inquiries, please contact Mark Kerr at 613.476.2148 ext. 1009 or by email at mkerr@pecounty.on.ca.