Sunday, April 06, 2008
Elmira Maple Syrup Festival
We attended the 43rd annual Elmira Maple Syrup Festival this weekend. I remember attending around 1969 when our family still lived in Toronto little knowing I would move to this area. It has been a few years since we have visited the town on this special day. Tens of thousands of people crowd the main street of the town of 12,ooo. Maple bush tours are available and the local arena also hosts a craft show.
Cicero Sings contacted me on Facebook to tell me that in the west, birch syrup is being produced. There are no sugar maples in western Canada and some inventive people have discovered that the sap of the white birch can be reduced to a unique sweetener. I have never heard of it and imagine it is more expensive than maple syrup.
Apple fritters are my favourite treat. I didn't wait in the lineups for any this weekend though. Most everything at the festival is available year round at our excellent local markets. We have ordered a case of maple syrup from a local farmer and get it in 14 oz. tins that are convenient to use and share. I imagine that early settlers in the area used only maple syrup and honey as sweeteners, liquid gold to be rationed to last until the next spring run.