2023 marks the 26th year that Harlaine Maple Products has welcomed visitors to its sugar shack as part of the Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival. Hundreds of people have visited their farm on Concession 1 south of Sunderland to see how an old-fashioned product is made using the latest in modern technology.
Douglas and Gloria Harder purchased the farm in 1954 from Vince Beaton (sons Jack and Jim) who had previously boiled sap at this maple bush, since 1933. Douglas started boiling at his parents maple bush when he was in his early teens, and continued on after purchasing the property. At age 87, Douglas passed away in 2004.
Paul and his Dad tapped around 500 to 600 taps in the 1970’s, all with buckets. In 1984, they put in the first pipeline with approximately 150 taps. The next year, the whole bush was on pipeline. They always had a used evaporator, approximately, 4×8, and boiled in the bush with no hydro until 1991, when a new building was built near the house. Now there is water and hydro for late night boiling. The building includes an evaporation room, a store, a kitchen and a small bottling room. Once this building was erected, we were able to expand and now have approximately 2,500 taps.
In 2011, we finally purchased a new Lapierre Force 5 evaporator. It’s all stainless steel and very efficient. We still fire it with wood, and it can process approximately 250 gallons of sap an hour. On a good year, with many cold nights and warm sunny days, we can make approximately 1700 liters of maple syrup. We also make maple butter and maple sugar candy, for sale along with the popular maple syrup. During the festival years, we have seen over 4,000 people come out to the bush to watch the syrup being made. We have had people involved for the last 18 years of the festival, hosting bush tours, demonstrating maple syrup production, boiling sap in a large kettle as the pioneers did, and showing how the native people boiled sap using a hollowed out log and hot stones from the fire.
Harlaine Maple Products store is open during the festival, plus we have a booth on the main street of Sunderland. In 2012, we hosted the first tapping for the Kawartha Haliburton Maple Syrup Association. We are also members of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association.
Harlaine Maple Products have toured the world and we are proud to be able to produce pure maple syrup: A Canadian tradition. As for recipes, we always enjoy fresh maple syrup on Old Fashioned Johnny Cake, maple syrup pie, maple butter tarts and maple apple crisp. Maple Syrup is also excellent on fruit and with carrots, squash and turnip. Maple syrup is very versatile and can be incorporated into most recipes. I try to hand out a flyer with favourites and I also sell a cookbook of recipes using maple syrup.
REMINDER: Get your bus tickets for a tour of Harlaine Maple Products at Sunderland Public School during the Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival!