Sweet Traditions at Maple Grove in Severn Township
A sweet family tradition is being passed down among the abundant and snow-covered maple trees in Severn Township.
Brent and Amy Beers have crafted maple syrup for almost two decades. Several years ago, they purchased a 50-acre property off Burnside Line: the perfect place to turn their hobby into a business.
Two small and energetic helpers have joined the fun: Abigail, 5, and Charlotte, 3.
On a Saturday morning, the family was out checking sap lines and preparing for syrup season.
“Sometimes a moose will walk through and take out all the lines in its path,” Amy laughed while walking hand in hand with her girls.
Abigail and Charlotte excitedly point out wolf tracks along the route.
“These (girls) never watch television, never ever,” Brent said. “They are always outside with us working as a family. Whether it’s doing Christmas trees, whether it’s making maple syrup, they are always a big part of that.”
The couple hopes the girls carry on the sweet tradition.
“We’ve set it up nicely for them to do that,” Brent said.
In the beginning, Amy and Brent produced maple syrup over a bonfire in a shallow pan. All of the sap was collected in buckets. It was laborious work for six litres of finished product.
“The wind would come up and you would almost cry because you lose your boil,” Brent said.
As years went on, they renovated an old sugar shack on the property, installed a line sap collection system, and purchased a large wood-fired evaporator.
Last year, Maple Grove produced 410 litres with 400 taps.
With demand growing, the family put out 700 taps this year.
“A perfect year is one finished litre per tap. In theory, we could have 700 finished litres,” Amy said.
As the days warm up and sap begins to run, the Beers family will turn sap to syrup with a Dominion & Grimm wood-fired evaporator. This ensures the most authentic flavour, Brent said.
“It’s the bush that produces it too. We’ve got a really good sugar bush,” he said.
Brent noted: Maple Grove does not use reverse osmosis, or a filter press. And no chemicals are added.
On boiling days, Abigail and Charlotte will entertain themselves by going headfirst down a snowbank, or raking rocks on the floor of the sugar shack. They’ve even napped while Brent and Amy continually feed the flames.
Maple Grove always sells out of its syrup and Brent said their sugar bush has the potential to expand further in future years.
Orillia’s Mariposa Market sells Maple Grove syrup in various sizes. And Mariposa uses the syrup in a lot of its baked goods, Brent said.
Last year, they sold syrup bottles as favours for three weddings.
Maple Grove is a side gig for the family. Brent is a nurse at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre and Amy is an OPP officer working out of general headquarters.