Ontario Continues the “Quality” Pursuit.

Ray Bonenberg samples golden and very dark syrup at the Ottawa Valley maple syrup beginners course to compare grades and illustrate the difference in taste.

Two geographically separate workshops, focusing on producing high quality maple syrup were carried out in Ontario over the span of 1 week. On Feb 4 in Campbellford ( 2 hours east of Toronto) 80 would be and beginner producers attended the 6th Quality Assurance workshop hosted by the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association ( OMSPA). This workshop conducted by the OMSPA Quality Assurance chair, Brian Bainborough, covered topics like proper density management, bottling procedures and the proper storage of maple containers.

On Feb 11 in Eganville Ontario, ( 1.5 hours north west of Ottawa) close to 50 beginners attended a hands on workshop that utilized a rotational “station” system. 7 stations were set up around a large hall and participants rotated every 30 minutes from station to station to hear and receive direct knowledge on the respective topics. Stations included density, proper filtering, managing your sap, boiling advice, proper tapping tricks, understanding the new grades and labeling and of course a special station for the 4 supporting maple equipment suppliers.

Participants really appreciate the practical knowledge they received from experienced producers and they were able to handle hydrometers, drill a maple tree and smell bad sap. Feedback has been extremely positive and the after workshop follow up has the e-mails buzzing. OMSPA has been focusing on ensuring high quality production techniques are shared with the increasingly growing number of newly arrived producers. The workshops are designed to put the fun in learning and to have these new producers take home the proper knowledge and tools to do it right!

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