MAKING MAPLE Bob Collins of Arrowvale Farm and Campground sugars off a vat full of sap from the big leaf maple trees on his Beaver Creek property near Port Alberni. Arrowvale hosts its maple fest Feb. 29 and March 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days.(SONJA DRINKWATER/Alberni Valley News)

Arrowvale Farm near Port Alberni hosts maple syrup fest

Taste west coast maple syrup on Leap Year Saturday and watch demonstrations too

Arrowvale Farm and Campground will hold its annual maple festival on Saturday, Feb. 29 and Sunday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

Ann and Bob Collins have tapped the Bigleaf maple trees on their land for the past decade, producing small batches of maple syrup with a distinctly west coast flavour. While Bob was busy earlier this month tapping trees and boiling off the sap to make syrup for sale, he will also demonstrate both for people who have never seen the syrup-making process.

While maple syrup is known as an eastern Canadian delicacy, and “sugar shacks” are prolific in Ontario and Quebec, Bigleaf maple trees that grow in the Pacific Northwest also produce sap. The taste is different than that of maple syrup that comes from Quebec, and that you might find on grocery store shelves.

The growing season is different for eastern sugar maples and western Bigleaf maples: eastern species are tapped in the spring when the weather has warmed up enough that the sap inside the tree is “flowing” again, whereas western Bigleaf maples can be tapped anytime between fall and spring.

“Tapping” a tree is literally inserting a spigot into a maple tree to access the sap, and having it flow using gravity into buckets or containers on the ground.

This season has been average for Arrowvale’s Bigleaf maples, says Ann Collins. “It is hard to say what kind of year this is as we are still tapping, and all is reliant on the weather. The trees are currently running but if the weather warms quickly then the trees stop running…so I would say so far it is average.”

Besides bottles of their Arrowvale maple syrup, the Collins’ maple fest will also include other maple-based treats such as popcorn, sweet treats and maple-baked beans, as well as hotdogs for lunch.

There will also be some small animals for children to visit.

Arrowvale Farm and Campground is located at 5955 Hector Road, just west of Port Alberni.

— With files from Sonja Drinkwater

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictFarming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Bob Collins and his wife Ann have been tapping big leaf maple trees on their Arrowvale Farm property west of Port Alberni for about 10 years. Bob prepares for a small batch of west coast maple syrup for 2020. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News)

Just Posted

Drive-in movie coming to Port Alberni

Event limited to 50 vehicles due to COVID-19

City of Port Alberni’s security program open to all residents

Matching grant program offers 50 percent reimbursement for security upgrades

Hundreds of cars participate in second Port Alberni Cruise for Care

Event was a salute to frontline workers at seniors’ care homes

VALLEY SENIORS: A second chance comes with enough memories for two

The Dietrich family makes its mark on Abbeyfield House in Port Alberni

Inquest into death of Jocelyn George postponed due to COVID-19

Coroner’s inquest into 2016 death of Port Alberni woman was supposed to start July 6

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

COVID-19: B.C. landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read