Wednesday, March 18, 2009

::Fortune Farms Sugar Bush::

March Break. How to keep my restless critters busy? My March Break activity criteria: Fun. Free. This is tricky, as most free activities involve the outdoors, which is a wee bit mucky and cold in March. But then this beautiful spot of warm weather came our way and we jumped on the chance.

We have a wealth of Sugar Bush camps around here, but some have become too big for comfort, with packed parking lots and ridiculous prices for what they offer. A few, however, have kept things simple. Fortune Farms is basically an open door syrup-making getup. You pull in, and wander in and out of doors, as you please, until someone comes along to explain it all to you. It seems to be a fantastic year for the syrup industry. The vats were brimming with sap. The owners figure they will have 5 weeks of good "running sap", as opposed to last year's single week.

We parked ourselves at a picnic table in the sunshine after our tour and consumed an appropriate lunch of blueberry pancakes, whipping cream, fruit and pure syrup fresh from the shop. Mmmm. {Although Karin begged to differ; "Cold pancakes! Yuck!"}

We set off on a "hike" after lunch. It was warm enough to shed our coats, and sunny enough to squint against the bright snow remaining under the shelter of the trees. It was beautiful... except for the sap lines, that is. They criss-crossed our path at knee, chest and neck height for much of the walk. This meant that Kate and I, burdened by heavy and awkward back-carriers, had to crouch way down to get under them. My legs were burning after the third line.

We were rewarded at the end of the walk with syrup taffy on snow. One of the best tastes in the world.