By Christopher Gooding
LYNN MOUNTAIN - He's literally the new kid on the block but Matthew Harrison is carving a niche for himself as a maple producer.
Deep in the wild woods of Lynn Mountain, Harrison entered his third season as a maple producer and says its shaping to be his best yet. Warm days and cool nights had the 6,500 taps on his family's land running early but a short bout of above freezing-weather slowed production down. By last Thursday, however, the prime conditions were back and the lines were drawing sap into the Harrison sugar camp.
"The average year brings in 500-plus gallons but this year is turning out to be the best," Harrison said. "We'll be expanding by 4,500 taps next year."
Just three years in operation, the Harrison woodlot is now being worked by the family's third-generation. It was the third generation to finally male the leap and put the maple acreage to work, Harrison says, but it has been a fruitful endeavour despite start up costs.
"The wood was here. Everyone had talked about doing it," he said. "It's not hard work but it's time consuming."
Friends and an extended family have been Harrison's core-visitors to the sugar woods but new faces are arriving each weekend, he says. A modest sign at the gate into the Harrison's woodlot lets people know visitors are welcome (when the gate is open, Harrison says) and work is underway to accommodate more visitors in the future. With the boiler taking up the majority of the existing sugar camp Harrison is overseeing construction of a larger camp that will house the boiler, reverse osmosis and other maple producing equipment while introducing a seating area for pancake suppers and an area for visitors to buy the naturally sweet treats. Eventually, Harrison says, he hopes to live year-round at the sugar camp with his wife, Bonnie. Above the two-story building presently under construction is the humble beginning of a loft.
From Springhill - follow Highway 2 west into Mapleton, turning left onto the Lynn Road.
Proceed south on the Lynn Road onto the unpaved stretch and watch for the Sugar Woods sign on the right.
Follow the private road straight, taking the left at the forked divide. The sugar camp is on the left-hand road just before a brown camp in sight of the turn.
From Parrsboro - follow the Glooscap Trail (Highway 2) east towards Five Islands, turning left onto the Lynn Road.
Proceed north on the Lynn Road onto the unpaved stretch and watch for the Sugar Woods sign on the left.
Follow the private road straight, taking the left at the forked divide. The sugar camp is on a left-hand road just before a brown camp in sight of the turn.