Sap Runs in the Family

Sanagan’s grade A maple syrup is produced in Guelph, Ontario by Shady Grove, the same family who raise most of our holiday turkeys. Shady Grove has 30,000 taps installed in 15 local woodlots, feeding not picturesque buckets but networks of vacuum-powered sap extraction systems. Their sugar shack (a.k.a. production facility) has the ability to process 4000 gallons of syrup per hour. They are serious about syrup and the result is top grade stuff.

In contrast to this high-tech scenario I’ve had the immense good fortune, having married into maple, of seeing the process at its most pioneer-like. My wife’s family, The Purvis’s obtained their original 400 acres of farmland and bush near Brockville, Ontario, in the form of an 1812 War land grant. At some point in the 1840’s they built a stone farmhouse. This is the house my wife grew up in, shaded by massive ancient sugar maples tapped for generations to produce the family’s annual batch of maple syrup.

#13 Syrup Street

If you’re looking for a holistic wellness program, I can’t recommend syrup making strongly enough. Endless lungfuls of bracing fresh air in a deeply natural setting, hiking through the bush carrying heavy buckets, mounting the pick-up truck, unloading the heavy antique milk cans and filling the boiler; it’s like CrossFit at Walden Pond.

Graham’s bucket list

After your workout you bask in the sap spa, the makeshift boiling tent where 40 units of sap is reduced into 1 unit of syrup and you steam yourself in the clouds of sweet mist coming out of the wood-fired evaporator. While you gently steam, it’s recommended you re-fortify with constant sampling.

Boiling Up

So, I count myself lucky to be included in this sweet tradition. For those of you who don’t have a tapping family, you can still enjoy this elemental distillation of Canada’s natural flavour. Just include a bottle of maple syrup on your next Sanagan’s shopping list.

Ted and Laurel Purvis

Ted (right) started early

Archeologists Love Haggis

This January 25, the gang at ASI Archeology will hold their 32nd annual Robert Burns Day office party and Sanagan’s is proud to be their Official Purveyor of the Haggis. Or is it Offal-icial Purveyor?

Our house-made haggis features offal from our Ontario lamb combined with oatmeal, onion, lard and seasoning in an all-natural beef bung. We are honoured to supply it to ASI and to you for your Robbie Burns celebrations.

Martin Cooper is the Senior Archeologist at ASI and the driving force, all these years, behind the party. One assumes he’s steeped in Scottish ancestry and goes around saying things like “ach” while playing golf in the rain.

“I’m actually Jewish. I have no Scottish blood at all”, he explains, with a laugh, from across the boardroom table at ASI’s office on Bathurst Street. “But when I was growing up, my backyard in North York faced onto the backyard of the Colonel of the 48th Highlanders and every summer he’d have the whole pipe band in the backyard”. Who could resist such an onslaught of Scottishness? While majoring in archeology at U of T Martin, a.k.a. Rabbi Burns, minored in Romantic Revivalist poetry, reading lots of the Ploughman Poet. So once he established the original ASI office above his father’s dental practice in the ancestral Kensington/Annex neighbourhood, it went without saying that they’d whoop it up Scottish style every Burn’s Day. “Even then we’d pipe in the haggis. The piper would have to tune up in the patients waiting room”.

Whatever your Burn’s Day party origin story may be, we can help with the haggis. Just call 416-534-9747 and place your order.