le Lundi 29 mai 2023
le Mardi 30 mars 2021 12:16 Société

A Gentleman’s Sweet Hobby!

Jim Bangs is now in his seventies, anxiously waiting his turn for vaccination, and in the meantime, producing maple syrup.  He is a former general contractor in building construction and so was able to do everything himself from A to Z, step by step, which is a great asset when you know what you are doing and smart enough to ask or research when you don’t.

He owns a 6-acre wooden piece of land on the south-west corner of Sandy Hill and Bangs roads on which, eight years ago, he decided, strictly as a hobby, to try his hand at becoming an ‘acériculteur’ or maple syrup producer. He inventoried his lot to hold approximately 150 maples, although very few of those where ‘sugar’ maples; he then purchased used equipment and that first trial year, tapped only 25 trees; I suppose results were acceptable and the endeavour enjoyable enough to repeat the experience the following year, and the next one, and the next one too…He is now tapping 90 maples and says that in ideal conditions, he will collect 1200 litres of sap, thus producing 30 litres of syrup (the ratio being 40 to 1); he will use approximately eight cords of wood in the boiling process. ‘Overall, it is a lot of work, he says, because I’m a one-man operation, so it’s close to eight hours a day during peak season; the weather is always a challenge and may very well make or break all our efforts’. What about this year Jim?’ ‘Well, so far so good!

Local Artisans At Work: From Buckets To Tubing

‘Nestled in the countryside just minutes from the historic town of Vankleek Hill’   as described on their website, the Lamoureux operation is basically a family business: husband and wife Michel and Lucie, and their son Nicolas. CASSBURN SWEETS progressed from a modest operation they tentatively tried their hand at in 1999, tapping 150 trees, into the full-fledged commercial business it is today. Located on Cassburn road, the 40-acre property holds 4000 maple trees, of which 95% are of the sugar maple variety, the best for production, and it houses their sugar shack. Michel adds that this year, they rented an adjoining piece of land so as to increase their inventory to 5000 trees. His operation is fully automated, using vacuum-tubing and computerised software to control quality and quantity; it is also an environmentally-friendly production where wood is the heating source, using a process that burns very clean, at a combustion rate that reaches 98%. The farm is actually taking steps towards obtaining its organic certification. All products sold under name-brand CASSBURN SWEETS are homemade! Another local small family business worth encouraging with our spending dollars!

DID YOU KNOW THAT…maple syrup is a healthy sweetener: it contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses? An ideal alternative!