News

Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival – Saturday April 30!

Jaret & I both look forward to meeting you at this years Maple Syrup festival, we will both be manning our booth from 8:30am – 4:30pm… Be sure to board the bus and visit our sugar bush at 1373 Flos Road 8 East, Wally Greenlaw will be pleased to answer any of your questions!

Be sure to visit www.elmvalemaplesyrup.ca to check out all the details on the 2016 Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival, and check out the news & pictures from EMSF 2015.

Greenlaw Maple Syrup goes to Japan!


Dear Greenlaw Maple Products and staff,

First of all, Happy New Year! I hope this email finds you all well. I think you might remember us as my family had dropped by your farm back in October to pick up Maple syrup to bring to Japan for my wedding. I would like to thank you for providing us with your special maple syrup for us to use and give out to our guests at our wedding.

We are long consumers of your product and I thought why not introduce your product at our wedding. We held our wedding in Japan in October of 2012 in a city called Karuizawa. Beautiful place which kind of resembled much like Canadian cottage town.

I thought instead of a regular wedding cake, I had specially ordered our planner to make us a pancake tower for our wedding cake. In that case we were able to introduce your maple syrup.

It was a great turn out! Every one enjoyed the entertainment because it was something no one had ever seen; to do a pancake cut.

We are hoping to come down to visit you again in time for your harvest.

Take care.

Kind Regards,

Masayuki Hashimoto

The Happy Couple!  Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Hashimoto!
The Happy Couple! Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Hashimoto!

It’s been a very interesting couple of years…

During the last 2 summers we’ve had no choice but to hire an aerial spray company to spray our maple bush. We’ve had a real battle with forest caterpillars, they are a really gross little worm that resembles a tent caterpillar. Apparently, their un-welcomed visits happen on a cyclical basis, according to my grandparents their last visit was about 10 years ago…. Lets just say thier family grew “big-time” and we had these things everywhere! Thanks to General Airspray, we were able to safely destroy the colony of caterpillars with a totally safe and organic product called BTK.

General Airspray at work!
General Airspray at work!
Forest Caterpillars
Forest Caterpillars

Jaret becomes a board member at our local OMSPA chapter…

Upholding the quality and purity of our product by continuous learning is important to us…OMSPA, Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, offers it’s members more than marketing, they offer quality assurance programs, as well as contribute to research in the maple industry. If you would like to learn more about OMSPA, please check out their link. www.ontariomaple.com

Climate could sap sweetness from spring

By KATE HARRIES
Special to The Globe and Mail

ELMVALE, ONT. — One of the first signs of spring in the sugar bush is the producer, stomping around on his snowshoes, spreading out the blue plastic piping that will run from tree to tree.

“You’ve got to be ready for the first day, whenever it comes,” says Wally Greenlaw, stretching the piping so it’s positioned exactly the way it was last year, holes lined up against where the taps will be hammered into the maples.

That day — the day the sap starts to rise — is coming ever earlier, thanks to climate change.

“It’s getting warmer sooner,” says Tom Noland, a tree biochemist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Data collected in Ontario over almost half a century show the average first-boil date — the day sap starts flowing from the taps — has advanced by more than two weeks. In 1960, the first-boil date was March 24. By 2002, it was March 7. “This really shows you a significant progression,” Mr. Noland said.

In addition, the weather conditions most critical to good sap flow — air below freezing temperatures at night and above freezing during the day, ideally between -5 and 5 degrees — is not lasting as long in the maple’s southern range.

Mr. Greenlaw has no doubt the season is getting earlier and shorter. “It used to be 21 days, now we’re lucky to get 14, 15,” he said. He’s had the benefit of observing the seasons for 72 years from the same spot — the 20-acre bush his grandfather bought in 1920.

This is the first season Greenlaw Maple Products is under the ownership of his granddaughter, Pam McLaren, and her husband, Jaret, who bought Mr. Greenlaw out last year. The fact she’s expecting twins on April 21, the day of the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival, is thought to be a propitious sign.

Doug Thompson, who has one of Ontario’s largest sugar bushes on St. Joseph’s Island near Sault Ste. Marie, at what’s currently the northern edge of the maple range, says he’s also noticed the trend. “We’re starting to tap next week, which is really early for us,” he said in a telephone interview.

Normally the taps go in a couple of weeks ahead of when the sap flow is to start. March 21 is the common first-boil date for Thompson’s Maple Products, a certified organic operation that’s won two world championships at the Royal Winter Fair.

But this year, Mr. Thompson said, “we think it’s going to warm up early and we don’t want to miss the first runs because that’s where the profits are.”

A century ago, 80 per cent of maple syrup production occurred in the northern United States. That’s been completely reversed. Now the U.S. share is shrinking and Canada produces 80 per cent of the world’s maple syrup, most of it from Quebec. It’s a $178-million business, of which Ontario has an $11-million share.

By the end of the 21st century, an Environment Canada research paper published last year says, computer models project the sugar maple will have left the United States and made a dramatic northward shift of up to 2 degrees latitude.

Vermont may have to say goodbye to the vivid tints of fall, but whether the maples will like what they find when they move farther north is another matter. Canada’s present advantage may prove to be only short term, Mr. Noland said. “The climate is changing much faster than the trees are able to move and adapt to new conditions.”

Warmer winters mean less snow cover and damage to frost-sensitive roots. And maple trees are very thin-barked and can’t withstand forest fires — another consequence of global warming.

It takes 25 to 40 years to grow a tree to tapping size, and it will take longer to establish productive stands in more northerly conditions.

The maple is a finely tuned tree, requiring enough water in summer, a protective blanket of snow in winter and a spring that warms slowly.

The syrup tells the story of what has happened over the previous year. “I’m not looking for high sugar content this spring because of last summer,” Mr. Greenlaw said. “Every time it rained, the sun came out, hot, and the west wind dried everything up.”

Sap turns to syrup faster when it’s loaded with sugar and that makes for a pale, subtly flavoured product.

“Anyone can make a dark syrup,” Mr. Thompson said. It’s bacteria from long boils and warmer end-of-season temperatures that darken the liquid, he explained.

The connoisseur looks for the light colour that’s a distillation of those early spring days when the snow is still on the ground, a gentle breeze is blowing in from the west, and the sap is coursing up the tall, slim maple trees.

Congrats Pa! At this years Maple Syrup Festival Committee banquet, Wally (Greenlaw) received a Life Time Achievement award from the committee, recognizing him for all his efforts over the past 40 years! I would also like to throw him another thank-you, and recognise him for all his advise & support this past year…Thanks again Pa!

Ya Hoo! Again this year (April 2009) we have been granted Seal of Quality approval, from the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association…Our product, sugar house, production equipment, and grounds must pass criteria specified by the Government of Ontario, inspected by a Govt. Representative… Only the best from Greenlaw’s!

These are the good ol’ days!

…Seems like yesterday we decided to take over the family tradition and put on our maple syrup farmer hats; oh how the days and years have passed, our operation went from old to new, our children went from new to old and all the struggles of past have become lessons learned.

When Jaret and I first decided to tackle this kettle of fish we were each in our mid-twenties, one two year old, two full time jobs and two fraternal buns in the oven! Some might think we were nuts, looking back we were; today however we wouldn’t change a thing. Making maple syrup is a fading tradition, many producers are getting “more mature”, and there are very few younger people are saddling into the sport…Truthfully understandable in the time we live in. Late nights, early mornings and hard hits to our vacation time make it all happen. Old mother- nature has a mind all of her own, planning for the spring thaw is not easy; we do our best to have most of our prep work completed by March 1. Once the downed trees and limbs are cleared, tubing repairs are made, and yearly upgrades are completed we can begin the annual ritual of tapping the trees; about a week long process.

In past, ideal seasons, our first “boil” is the first weekend of March, sitting here in mid-February, looking at the weather predictions that might be un-likely this year…Oh how I look forward to the sunny days ahead, walking the trails checking vacuum in the linesand touring groups through our woods. We have some of our best times connecting with friends of old and new during the late nights in the ol’ sugar shack, boiling, firing, waiting, bottling and cleaning, oh the cleaning!…These truly are the good ol’ days.

Like most other producers we would love a new sugar house; ours was built by my great-grandfather, my grandfather, my dad and uncles…Many upgrades have been done over the years including our new lead free evaporator, the installation of food grade components and some comfort features including a heating unit; but as we curse the crooked floor and make repairs to the structure we can’t help but look at these old walls and smile knowing that we’re truly continuing a Canadian, and more-so a truly Greenlaw tradition.

Please take the time to visit our sugar house this spring, we will do our best to explain our craft, welcome you to walk our trails and gladly offer you to sample our maple syrup.