Toronto group wants to tap trees to make maple syrup, City of Toronto not impressed
Maple syrup might be as iconic a Canadian food as Timbits, but the City of Toronto is discouraging residents from tapping, the process by which the sugary sap is procured. It’s strange that the city would even weigh in on the issue; who has time to tap, then evaporate the sap, especially when maple syrup is one locavore-friendly food that is always available on grocery store shelves?
It turns out that enviro-activist Laura Reinsborough and her Not Far From the Tree initiative, which normally harvests fruit from backyards and the urban forest, wants to take up the task. Reinsborough, whose efforts made our list of Reasons to Love Toronto in 2009, has started the aptly named We’d Tap That project in the hopes that homeowners will offer five to 10 Norway maples for tapping; their sap will be collected and boiled down for a community party.
But, as the Toronto Star reports, the city’s urban forestry department is turning down requests to tap in parks, citing the risk of damaging trees. Beth McEwen, the department’s forest and natural environment manager, would “not encourage” sap tapping in backyards, either, and notes that people have to pay a fine when they damage a tree.
Though Reinsborough has already urged homeowners not to start tapping without “extensive research and proper training,” we fear that the proof will be in the pudding. Much like homemade beer and wine, although it might be fun to make, for the sake of quality, making syrup might be better left to professionals.
4 thoughts on “Toronto group wants to tap trees to make maple syrup, City of Toronto not impressed”
I sure hope they’re not interested in tapping Norway Maples—typically its Sugar Maples'(Acer saccharum)sap that is collected for Maple Syrup. And that’s not because Norway Maples are a non-native, naturalized species. It’s because Sugar Maples have a higher concentration of sugar in their sap. Means you have to boil off less water to get the sweet stuff.
Back when I lived in a house with many trees in the backyard, we tapped one of our big maples one year. No problem, the tree was fine and everything was good except that we burnt the sap in the slow cooker. If a homeowner wants to tap their own tree, let them!
Nope, I was wrong. Just spoke with Laura who confirmed that it is Norway Maples that they’re interested in tapping. They’re going to have to boil off more water, but given the ubiquity of Norway Maples in the city, they should have no difficulty finding trees—now if only the city was okay with the plan.
Jim and I were on vacation two years ago and learned a little about maple tapping from the owners of Sprague’s Restaurant, where they tap trees in the surrounding area.
We bought a few spiles, came home and tapped the following winter. This year, we’ve expanded and are already planning the next year’s expansion.
EXPERTS? If you can read, follow directions, and keep your canning area disinfected, you can bottle excellent syrup. I really get tired of the doomsdayers trying to dismay people with good common sense from enjoying the fruits of Nature!
Comments are closed.