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The Sugar House
Inside the Sugar House
... a winch system lifts the entire stainless steel top for cleaning and maintenance of the vat
Under blue skies and sunshine, the first OMSPA Grey Bruce maple syrup tapping took place at Westwood Winds south of Walkerton on Saturday (Feb.18) thanks to Jim and Donna Fischer, who opened their home to several people, including local politicians, who had come out for the first tapping.
Nick Bereznick, President
Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (OMSPA) Grey Bruce Chapter
Nick Bereznick, President of the local OMSPA chapter said that, "This is a great way to herald the coming of the maple syrup season. Many people do not realize that Ontario is the second largest producer of maple syrup in the country (next to Quebec), producing approximately one million litres of the sweet stuff per year. Indeed, Canada produces 71% of the world’s market (approximately 68 million pounds), 91% of which is produced in Quebec."
He also said that, "2017 will be a busy year for our association with the hosting of the 2017 OMSPA Summer Tour in our area and the designing and manning of a Maple Syrup display booth at this year’s International Plowing Match in Walton.
From the main house, the visitors enjoyed a leisurely stroll in the bright sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures to the Sugar House.
The Fischers only recently began producing maple syrup in earnest. For many years they were dairy farmers and Jim Owen is also a semi-retired teacher. Today, they tap more than 500 trees on the land that once belonged to Donna Fischer's grandfather Herb Meyer.
"We actually started doing this as 'down-time' from our dairy operation but three years ago began producing in earnest. Then, a year or so ago, we built this system and began producing maple syrup on a serious level."
Jim Fischer in front of the stainless steel system that he designed
Fischer went on to explain that the entire 'Sugar House' was constructed from recycled materials. "The wood is from trees on the farm and the windows are from the old dairy barn."
On the walls are photos of family and special momentos over the more than 100 years that the farm has been in the family . "We want this to be a fun family place," says Jim Fischer. "We are also looking at perhaps having school groups in so that it has an educational component as well."
West-Grey Mayor, Kevin Eccles (L) and Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb (R) give a close look at the boiling system
Jim Fischer (C) explains his system
The Fischers also operate their home as a B&B. "We are very busy in the summer," says Donna Fischer, "and this is the first winter we haven't had snowmobilers stay with us given the strange weather we've had. With more than 100 acres, our guests are able to have a real 'nature' experience."
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Monday, February 20, 2017