Tapping into liquid gold

Colton Davies

Locals in Summerland are tapping into a way to make maple syrup that has never been done before in the Okanagan.

Maple trees at several locations around town have been tapped to produce syrup.

Roch Fortin, who owns Maple Roch in Summerland, says the maple trees in the area were likely transported to estate properties when the KVR Railway was built.

"I think it's huge for Summerland, I think it's huge for business. Because the more we produce locally, the better it is," he said.

Fortin led an initiative last weekend at Nomad Cider where 15 trees were tapped, producing 600 litres of sap water — enough to make 15 litres of maple syrup with the right equipment.

That water then is boiled to leave behind maple sugar that also comes out of the trees.

The idea for the first maple tree tap in Summerland was born months ago, after a conversation between Fortin and Billy Bouerboom, the owner of Windmill Garden Centre who has maple trees on his property.

"I said 'where does syrup come from?' He says Quebec. I said well why don't we try it here?" Bouerboom said.

He said they first tapped a tree on his property in mid February when it about minus-10 outside, and said he was "amazed it started producing sap right away."

Fortin says interest is growing in the community among property owners with maple trees who think they may be able to tap in.

"A lot of people have come to us... 'I have a maple tree, can I tap it? Can I give you the sap?'" Fortin said.

"I think we're going to make a community event next year, and we're going to look around the community itself and see how maple trees we have, and see what we can do and tap them."

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