This Year’s Sugar Run!

Seeking hardy folk from among my friends for this year’s maple syrup harvest. Let me know if you’re interested!

The Pitch
This is as real as it gets.  True opportunity to build a requisite Canadian skill set.  Walking in the snow in a maple bush gathering sap. Driving around in tractors. Chopping and stacking firewood. Drinking your beverage of choice in a steam-filled shack watching the sap boil, listening to stories of past years’ exploits. Taking measurements and arguing with each other about when the syrup is ready to come off the boiler.  Getting lots of good farm meals in the interim.  Falling asleep reading books and playing games.  Movies on TV in front of fireplaces.  A sauna and an indoor pool.  An old skidoo to play with. A full woodworking shop for creativity.  A beautiful old yellow brick farm house.

The Warning
This is /actual/ work.  You carry 10 gallon pails of sap around through snow up to your knees twice a day.  And when we start to boil it can be an all-night thing.

The Prize
You get a significant and free share of the best, smokiest, most authentic maple syrup you’ve ever tasted. And you get to keep (or earn!) your Canadian passport.

The Location
The farm is about 2.5h southwest of Toronto.

The Timing
This is the hard part for most people, as it’s totally dependent on the weather.  Can’t commit to specific dates.  We all end up on standby.  We get about one week’s notice.  Will be late Feb or early March, most likely. (For those of you who have helped before…) We have installed a new boiler and much expanded storage tanks.  This means that we can store sap till the weekends and start the boils on Fridays.  Should make for a much more interesting experience for those of you only able to come up weekends. Whole process runs over about 2 weeks.

Weekday Support
There are two 90 min sessions of sap collection each day.  Hugely helpful to have people with freer schedules able to work from the farm.  There is a dedicated office and high speed wi-fi.  Get brought coffee and all your meals while you work.

The Work
The work consists of 3 separate phases.

1.) Tapping the trees. This is drilling into about 300-400 trees, tapping in the spiles, and hanging buckets. Takes a full day.
2.) Collecting. The second phase is collecting the sap.  This is twice daily sessions detailed above. Dumping small buckets into larger buckets into tanks on tractors. We keep doing this till there’s enough stored up to start the first boil.  Can be 3 to 4 days. We also chop and stack firewood while we’re waiting for the pails to fill.
3.) Boiling. Once we have a backlog of sap stored, we start the boil. This is the fun part and what we’re keeping for the weekends.  Collection continues throughout.

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