Our Story ...
Our sugar bush is situated on 100 acres of mixed forest near Elphin, Ontario in Lanark County.
Wendy and Dave Branson began making maple syrup as a family activity in 2010 with a used finishing pan over a homemade wood stove. Their love of being outdoors and doing all of the work that comes with making maple syrup made it a natural fit.
Within a few years it had quickly expanded to more than 300 buckets and they found themselves purchasing a modern high-efficiency wood burning evaporator and installing vacuum pipelines. Each year the number of tapped trees has grown and is currently about 1600 taps on vacuum tubing and still a few buckets for visitors.
Dave and Wendy are active members in the Lanark & District chapter of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (OMSPA) which brings members together to share knowledge and promote maple syrup in Ontario. Dave is also the Director of Communications for the Lanark & District Chapter.
The first murmurings of spring begin with the running of sap
The journey so far!
The property is situated on unmaintained township road which presents some additional challenges such a snow plowing and lack of hydro service.
The "off-grid" operation is powered by a combination of a 3 kW solar system powering a 24 V battery bank and an 11 kW diesel generator. The generator feeds the 220 volt motors on the reverse osmosis equipment, the evaporator and air compressor for the filter press pump.
During the maple syrup season we stay at our 3 bedroom camp which offers most of the comforts of home including high-speed Internet and Satellite TV - all powered by solar panels.
Improvements are made to our operation every year and we are expanding again. We are currently in the process of building a new 1500 sq foot sugar house for 2021 to house all of our production and bottling equipment.
Our family and helpers
Despite all modern equipment, there are lots of jobs to do when it comes to making maple syrup and everyone gets involved! Sarah and Drew Branson are involved in every aspect of the operation. Sarah has a steady hand for filling hot bottles and Drew's height is especially desired when it comes to removing and sanitizing those high spiles after the snow has melted.
One of the great things about making syrup is getting to visit many friends and relatives who come out to lend a hand and enjoy all the good things that come with making maple syrup. It truly does make it one of the sweetest times of the year.
Although we do not maintain normal hours, visitors are always welcome during the season. Please, just call ahead