Did you know there are over 70 maple syrup farms in Nova Scotia? I totally had NO IDEA! When I heard about Sugar Moon Farm, I thought it was one of few, but how wrong I was! Across the province there are over 370,000 taps flowing with sap that is turned into liquid gold every spring.
That’s a lot of maple.
Who doesn’t love maple syrup? It’s iconically Canadian, it goes with everything, and it’s freaking delectable! So, in search of local deliciousness, Adam and I felt it was our duty to go on an impromptu roadie and head to Sugar Moon Farm.
Located about an hour and twenty minutes north of Halifax, Sugar Moon Farm is nestled in the Cobequid Hills just outside of Earltown. The Sunday morning drive was lovely with newly fallen snow covering the trees and when we pulled up the driveway to Sugar Moon Farm around 11:00 the place was buzzing with people!
We parked the car, and a very friendly lady greeted us in front of the large wooden cabin that houses both the restaurant and the sugar camp. She encouraged us to put our names on the waiting list for the Maple Brunch (there was quite a wait) and told us about the activities we could partake in while we waited, including a tour of the sugar camp (where they make the syrup), snowshoeing, or exploring through the trees and the taps.
We opted for the tour of the sugar camp and luckily one was just starting. Normally I find guided tours extremely boring, but this was pretty interesting. There is so much to learn about maple syrup farming but I won’t bore you with too many details, I’ll only tell you cool stuff:
- There are over 150 kinds of maple trees, but sugar maples are the best for maple syrup which is the varietal they use at Sugar Moon Farm.
- When the sap comes out of the tree it is 95% water and you have to boil the s*** out of it to turn into maple syrup!
- Canada produces 82% of the world’s maple syrup, 90% of that is produced in Quebec! We pretty much dominate maple syrup.
Inside the sugar camp is surprisingly small considering they boil an awful lot of sap in there; in order to produce one litre of syrup, you need about 40 litres of sap!
After the tour, it was time for brunch! We headed inside to warm up and sat along one of the giant wooden tables with benches and families eating mountains of pancakes. The large fireplace was roaring and the place was full of people and delicious smells. All the products used at Sugar Moon Farm are local, and the Maple Brunch is heavily maple-themed, and I mean heavy.
We started off with ‘Sugar Moon Coffees’ ($3.75), which feature Just Us! coffee, maple syrup, and whipped cream. It was delicious and the perfect way to warm up after exploring the farm! Oh, and they have free refills and you can add Irish whiskey too.
We started with some delicious little biscuits with maple butter. I have always been under the impression that maple butter was maple flavoured butter, but no sir, maple butter is maple syrup boiled down even more until it has the consistency of butter: it is to-die-for.
Then it was time for the all-you-can-eat heritage buttermilk pancakes. Yes, I said all-you-can-eat: The servers wander around the cabin with giant stacks of pancakes offering them to any stomach that desires.
Adam opted for ‘The Sugar Moon Classic’ ($16) which includes pancakes, maple baked beans, and smoked Knockworst. Delicious.
I chose to go with the pancakes and breakfast sausage ($10), and it was of equal awesomeness. THERE IS SO MUCH MAPLE SYRUP! There were bottles lining the tables and the shelves, and you could pretty much have as much as you handle before you went into diabetic coma. It was heavenly. The Maple Brunch at Sugar Moon Farm is delicious and with nothing on the menu over $16, a totally affordable meal to accompany your maple syrup adventure.
After brunch, we headed up the hill to explore the forest and see the taps.
Gravity is the only source of momentum for the taps; the sap makes it way down the hill with the help of the tall posts that support the tubing down from the trees. Once the sap is collected into a large vat, it is boiled and strained and voila, maple syrup!
Up in the forest, we got to see all the taps and you could actually see the sap running through the blue tubing!
There are 2500 taps at Sugar Moon Farm, and every spring they hope to produce around 1/2 litre of maple syrup from every tree.
Through the trees and taps you could visit the original sugar camp. It was tiny!
Sugar Moon Farm is a great little adventure for a weekend afternoon. There is lots to see and lots to eat! We happened to be at the farm the day after the first boil (when they start making the maple syrup), and they will continue to produce maple syrup into April until all the sap dries up from the trees for another year. Owned by Scott Whitelaw and Quita Grey since 1996, Sugar Moon Farm is open year round, but it is definitely worth your while to visit during the spring season to see all the action! I encourage everyone, young and old alike to visit the farm, eat some pancakes, and Explore. Eat. Repeat. your way through the Cobequid Hills for some awesome maple syrup.
Long live the maple.