New Dundee's award winning maple syrup on upswing despite pandemic

Life on Dundee's Maple Tap Farm is sweet

  • Business   Tue, Mar 9th, 2021   Wendy Rutherford (with files from Lisa Hagen)
Award-winning Maple Tap Farm maple syrup from New Dundee is seeing an uptick in demand.

Award-winning Maple Tap Farm maple syrup from New Dundee is seeing an uptick in demand.

COVID-19 "sapped' the joy out of taking part in the Elmira Maple Syrup and the Paris Lions' Maple Syrup festivals in person this year for Maple Tap Farm, but it has not affected the sales of their sweet product.

"The demand for syrup is not dropping off in anyway," said Maple Tap Farm owner Wally Sallans. "It seems to be getting greater all the time.”

People are seeing the health benefits of maple syrup during this time. Tests on maple syrup by a University of Rhode Island study, sponsored by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, found that it contains compounds which could help manage Type 2 diabetes, as well as acting as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents. 

"We don’t know yet whether the new compounds contribute to the healthy profile of maple syrup, but we do know that the sheer quantity and variety of identified compounds with documented health benefits qualifies maple syrup as a champion food," said lead researcher Dr. Navindra Seeram in a 2016 interview.

“Some people are against sugar, but everybody’s got to have a little sugar," quipped the syrup producer Sallens. "Maple sugar is the best -metabolizes the best into your system. It doesn’t give you the peak highs and lows like cane sugar.” 

The Sallans family, of New Dundee, have been producing syrup for 52 years. Wally Sallans has been tapping trees since he was a kid. 

“I’ve done it all my life because I enjoy it. It’s a good springtime thing. The family gets involved (but) this isn’t our primary job."

They have 3800 taps running on vacuum tubing and use a wood-fired evaporator. It takes above zero degree days and cooler nights to get the sap flowing.

Other local producers get the Sallans to custom boil for them. The locals do the tapping and collecting.

“We pick up the sap and boil it," said Sallens. "We use a reverse-osmosis system which is a more modern way of doing it. We still boil sap in the traditional way (but) the reverse-osmosis takes half of the water out. Saves a lot of the boiling time."

Maple Tap was busy working tapping trees when interviewed.

“They used to always say you should average one litre per tap. It takes forty gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup depending on the sugar content. Last year we did two litres per tap which was a good season.”

According to Sallens, the first week of March is the traditional start time for maple syrup. Two or three years ago, they made a third of their crop before March due to an unusually warm streak in the weather.

Unfortunately, there will be no open houses or tours at the farm due to the pandemic this year, but you can call ahead and pick up syrup at the farm. It is also sold at the Village Market, The New Dundee Emporium, The Garden Stand, and Gmach Gardens.

(Maple Tap Farm was awarded the 2016 and 2017 Elmira Maple Syrup Festival Producer of the Year award.