Spring is here, weather or not…. so what better time to try an annual past-time that makes not only PEI but North America famous.  Maple tree tapping and maple syrup time.  We see it on TV, on calendars and I doubt anyone in the world does not know about our famous syrups.  Although we learnt on this particular trip that maple syrup is only made in North America.

On this trip we headed east about 1 hour to Woodville Mills and McPhee’s Orchards on Launching Road.  Very non-descript out-of-the-way place but learned about it while researching for maple tree lots.  Not the largest on the island but certainly very warm greeting and turned out to be a lot of firsts for us.

Mcphee orchards entrance..note small Maple Syrup sign

Welcomed by John at the sugar shack

We got a quick lesson on the evaporator that is used in the process.  A small tank full of sap is outside the sugar shack and it feeds the evaporator.  We were lucky today as they were running out of sap as the trees were not running well with the warm weather that we had been having.  You require warmer weather in the daytime and cold at night.

Maple tree sap tank outside sugar shack

Inside the sugar shack with the evaporator working full and fueled by a hand stoked firebox underneath at the front

Explaining the evaporation process

John took Tracy and I out to some of the 750 trees he taps each year to produce only 300 litres of finished syrup.  The evaporation reduces the sap at an average of 50:1.  Every 50 litres of sap produces 1 litre of syrup.

We were given the chance to sample the sap from the tree…we thought it would be sticky too but it was like drinking heavy tasting water.  Not bad at all.

Tap on a 160 year old maple tree

Sap tasting...

Of course it was fun and enjoyable and educational on a beautiful day on the island but really let’s not kid ourselves, what Ewen really wanted was…

Sucker for syrup

…and for a great recipe for salmon and syrup lovers click on the link below




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