End of the 2023 Sugarbush Season

Our 50th production season has come to an end and we are pleased to report that we had a good year.  The volume of our crop was above our long-term average and the quality is excellent.  We did not make as much dark and very dark syrup as we wanted, but that is beyond our control. The unseasonably hot weather brought the trees out of dormancy very quickly, changing the chemistry of the sap and rendering it unusable.

It was a challenging season in the woods dealing with the effects of last summer’s derecho and then the ice storm in April.  This is the fist time we have experienced damaging ice conditions during maple season as well as a prolonged power failure.  We managed to clear the fallen branches and trees and get the pipeline systems back into shape over three days and gathered a lot of sap once the power was back on.  We will investigate back up power options as electricity is critical in all aspects of our production systems. 

We enjoyed seeing all our friends and customers and appreciate your positive feedback on your experience at the farm and our maple products.  It’s so nice to connect with folks every year and catch up on news and events!

Once we stop collecting sap, the cleaning begins.  All the taps are removed from the trees, our lines are back washed with water and then injected with alcohol to sanitize the network.  The alcohol vapours remain in the pipelines, keeping them clean until we tap our trees again next spring.  We scrub our sap collection tanks, clean the pump houses and service our pumps (there are many pumps!).  The  evaporator is drained and cleaned carefully as well as the reverse osmosis machine and membranes.  All the clean-up takes about three weeks and seems to go quicker when we’ve had good production.

In the forest, the leaves are emerging and we are pleased to see flowers on some of our maples.  The wind and ice storms have created many openings in the canopy and a good crop of maple seeds means that future generations of maple trees will be established where others have fallen. The woods are alive with birds, who unlike us, are looking forward to the arrival of insects.

Buying / Ordering Syrup

As of May 1, we will no longer have daily hours in the store but plan to be open on Saturdays from 10 to 2. 

Syrup can be ordered and picked up anytime at the farm from our lock boxes.  We have also started making deliveries and ship syrup around the world to customers far and wide.  We have a good supply of golden, amber, and dark syrup as well as our other maple products.

The Fortune Family, the Kettle Boys, Shanty Men and staff at the farm would like to thank everyone who visits the farm and enjoys our products.  Sharing maple season with you is a tradition we all enjoy.

Wind Storm – May 21, 2022

Like many areas in eastern Ontario, the maple forests of Fortune Farms were in the path of the “derecho” or “very high winds running in straight lines” on Saturday, May 21st. 

Thankfully, no one was hurt but our maple forests have been damaged.  

Ecologically, windstorms are a factor in the regeneration of old growth hardwood forests. The gaps in the canopy created by large fallen trees allow for the establishment of new seedlings.  Practically, as maple farmers and forest managers, we respect natural forces, but they create danger, along with a lot of work and expense!

The damage is quite dramatic.  Trees with stem defects or weak branch joints snap off at various heights while others, despite their expensive root systems are uprooted and tipped over.

There is also a “domino effect” when one tree hits another and pushes it over.  As the branches and trees fall, they land on our pipeline systems and trails. 

Clearing the fallen trees is hard and dangerous work which must be done so that we can repair and replace the tubing systems.

When you visit Fortune Farms and walk the trails, you will see the effects of this storm for years to come.

Picture of a maple tree uprooted in Ontario's May 21, 2002 derecho.
A completely uprooted tree along with other fallen trees.
Maple trees and tubing lines downed at Fortune Farms sugarbush in Eastern Ontario in the May 21, 2022 derecho.
Felled trees and sap tubing lines.
Another picture of maple trees toppled in the wind storm of May 2022 that whipped across Ontario and Quebec.

September 2015

It’s been a favourable summer for the maple trees. Lots of rain and not too much heat. The maple orchard is looking very healthy. There has been some wind damage to the trees, but not too severe. We are busy doing pipeline maintenance, attending fall fairs, and supplying syrup to our customers.

Current Season Updates 2009

April 20, 2009
The season is over and we are now washing up. The lines need to be flushed and the equipment cleaned.  We have medium and amber syrup for sale. The camp may not be open all the time so call ahead to arrange a pickup. 613 256 5216.

April 9, 2009
The cold weather and snow has restarted the maple season We are boiling today and expect further runs of sap on Friday and Saturday and maybe Sunday. The Kettle Boys may operate but the Shanty Men are finished for this year The trails are wet but open  and we may still have toffee on the snow. We now have a fresh supply of syrup and should be able to fill your orders.

April 5, 2009
It was a surprise this morning to find a skiff of snow on the ground. No rain or snow in the forecast, but it may be cool. A good day for a brisk walk in the woods then a warm up around their boiling kettles or the camp fire. This will be the last weekend we will be operating for this year, as the season is rapidly drawing to a close.

April 4, 2009
What a wet day. In spite of the weather a few hardy people came to the camp to pick up their syrup. Tomorrow promises to be much dryer and all our activities will be underway. The sap is still running a bit but the syrup is now dark with late season flavour.We still have medium and amber syrup for sale.

March 31, 2009
The sap continues to flow and we are making amber syrup today.  Current orders are being filled and we are still accepting new ones.  The weather  looks good for continuing to make syrup the remainder of the week. There is very little snow left in the bush and the trails are in good condition for hiking.

March 27, 2009
It has been a good week of syrup making with ideal weather and good sap runs. However, no amber syrup yet but due to the warm weather it may turn to amber either today, or on Saturday. We will be running our usual weekend activities and the Kettle Boys are already here getting ready. On Sunday afternoon weather permitting we will have some fiddle music around the camp fire or boiling kettles. Also on Sunday you can stop at Union Hall 1 km east of Fortune Farms on Wolf Grove Rd  for pancakes and maple syrup.

March 22, 2009
A bright but cool Sunday morning. It is unlikely the sap will run today as the forecast high is  zero. However, the sap ran all night due to the low pressure ahead of the cold front and our tanks are full of sap. We will be boiling most of the day. We now have an ample supply of syrup,candy and maple butter for sale and the syrup quality this year is very good. We have a bonfire area for a warm up between visits to the Kettle Boys, the Shanty Men and the Sugar Camp. So don’t let the cool weather dissuade you from a visit if you were planning to come to Fortune Farms today.

March 20, 2009
Its been a good week for making syrup. Our best sap run was on March 18. The syrup continues to be of good quality and we have a small quantity of early season medium. There is still six to eight inches of snow in the bush so good boots are needed for walking on the trails. The weekend weather looks favourable with sunshine both days and all our activities will be in full swing.

March 16, 2009
We have had two good syrup days and the balance of the week looks favourable. So far the syrup is light in colour with that early season maple flavour. The outlook for a good season is promising, as we still have 10 to 20 cm’s of snow in the sugar bush. We are open every day from 10 to 5 for hiking on the trails, syrup tasting and taffy on the snow.

March 15, 2009
Its a bright sunny Sunday morning and it looks like a very good sap day. So far we have made a small quantity of light syrup and expect to make more today. All our activities are underway so the season is finally in full swing.

March 13, 2009
We finished tapping on March 10 and collected a small run of sap on March 11. We had considerable difficulty starting our large evaporator which delayed our first syrup production. Finally at 4.00 pm today we solved the problem and as I write this note we are boiling and making syrup. So we will have fresh syrup to taste this weekend as well as maple candy and maple butter.The Kettle Boys and Shanty Men will be in operation and there is not too much snow on the trails so a walk in the sugar bush is possible. The weather forecast is for mild weather so we may be collecting sap and boiling as well.

March 8, 2009
We are busy tapping this weekend. No syrup yet, in spite of the warm weather. The  sap did  not run very much on Saturday.  It may take a day or two of warm weather for the trees and roots to thaw. There is no one at the camp as we are in the sugar bush.

March 1, 2009
We are still waiting for a sustained warm spell which will signal the start of the maple syrup season. The long range forecast indicates a warming trend on March 6, and if this happens, we plan to start tapping our trees. One team of two people can insert up to 800 taps per day and even with three teams it takes four or five days to complete our 7000 taps. The cold weather should help increase the sweetness of the sap as the starch produced in the leaves turns to turns to sugar below 5 degrees Celsius. Judging by the phone calls ands emails we are receiving, the season cannot start soon enough, as everyone is looking forward to that first taste of fresh syrup.

Feb 7, 2009
The first mild weather of the season arrived for the weekend. It  was a good opportunity to work in the sugar bush, repairing lines and getting ready to tap. We normally tap the first week of March but we have to keep an eye on the weather and if this warm weather continues we may tap earlier. We have made syrup in February .However, the closer we can tap to the actual start of the season, the better the sap production will be. In spite of cold weather the tap holes begin the self healing process as soon as they are made, which diminishes the sap flow.

Jan 1, 2009

A new season has begun. We are looking forward to another successful year.