SBES takes a sweet trip to Esson Creek Maple
By Sue Tiffin
Standing at the Esson Creek Maple sugar shack on April 9, one could turn their head and spot groups of excited kids in every direction at the family-run business.
There, next to the evaporator, Josh Bramham was showing a group of Grade 1 Stuart Baker Elementary School students – who cheered for each log put onto the fire – how to keep the maple syrup production process going. His wife, Heather, was taking a group photo of another class of students balancing on a snow hill, prior to their mouths being covered with taffy. Josh’s dad Mark was leading a class on a hike through the snow-covered trails on the Wilberforce property and Sandra Bramham, Josh’s mom, was standing next to a pot of boiling maple syrup, keeping an eye on the contents as it warmed to be poured onto snow for a tasty taffy treat for wide-eyed youngsters. Little Wesley Bramham oversaw it all, between eating mouthfuls of snow.
Six SBES classes – three on April 9 and three on April 10 – visited Esson Creek Maple on the Bramhams’ Greenmantle Farm this year for an early spring field trip. The maple syrup operation is currently in its third year of business, with 1,730 taps, up from 1,200 last year and 530 in their first year.
The maple syrup season runs on average for about six weeks, but last year it ran for nine weeks.
“Sap is really starting to flow now,” said Heather after the excitement of the day. “[April 9] was the most sap we’d ever collected.”
Heather said bus funding for the trip was made possible by the local Haliburton-Kawartha chapter of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association.
“One of their main goals, and ours as being members, is to promote Ontario maple syrup and get folks – especially young ones – excited about maple.”
As kids licked their lips and covered their tongues in maple taffy before getting back to running around in the shade of maple trees, that sweet goal was clearly met.