Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope y’all are having a great week so far.
This may not surprise you if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, but there’s three things I love doing more than anything else in this world:
- Discovering fun and unique things to do in Ontario
- Supporting amazing local businesses
- Eating delicious food!
The place I’m going to share with you today combines all three of these things, and you’re going to want to pin this post, because this fun experience is only happening for a limited time! I won’t keep you in suspense any longer… I’m talking about the Maple Syrup Festival at Pefferlaw Creek Farms.
Located in Uxbridge, Pefferlaw Creek is a small, family-run farm that produces some of the most delicious maple syrup I’ve ever tasted in my life. The farm is run by four brothers who started making maple syrup as kids at their family’s woodlot in Stouffville. While they all initially pursued engineering careers, they eventually ended up purchasing this farm and turning their syrup-making hobby into their main bread and butter (mmm…butter and syrup is one of my favourite pancake toppings…sorry, I promise I’ll stay on topic!)
The farm sits on a 200-acre property – which includes 40 acres of sugar bush – and is named after Pefferlaw Creek, which runs through the property. The farm owners have partnered with other local land owners to expand their sap collection network into three other forests. After the sap is harvested from the combined 400 acres of sugar bush, it is brought back to the farm, where it’s processed into 100% pure organic maple syrup.
If you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity as the weather transitions from winter to spring, a visit to Pefferlaw Creek Farms is a must! Their Maple Syrup Festival opened for the 2023 season this past weekend, and will run every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3pm until April 23. We visited the festival last March and had a blast! Admission is very reasonable at $5 per person (or $20 per family) as it includes full farm access, tours of the forest and sugar shack, and samples of maple taffy.
The first thing we did when we got to the farm was go on a sugar shack tour! Our tour guide explained how the sap is collected, boiled, refined, processed and bottled using special machinery, which we also got to see up close. Each maple tree is hooked up to tubes that transport the sap from the trees directly to the farm’s production facility for processing. The facility tour also included a trip to the sugar bush so we could see the trees for ourselves.
After our tour, we headed back inside to the farm store, where we got to try a classic Canadian treat: maple taffy! Maple taffy is made by pouring boiling maple syrup onto snow, and the farm staff were handing out free samples for all the visitors to enjoy.
We also got to do “maple syrup shots”, which were so much fun (good Lord, if only my younger, hard-partying self could see what I’ve turned into…) The “shots” are just small pours of maple syrup, so that you can taste-test the different grades. Pefferlaw Creek Farms sells four grades of syrup: golden, amber, dark, and very dark. They also sell a special bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, which is to die for – but it’s a very intense flavour and (we found) best enjoyed in small doses. We wanted something that was flavourful but a little more mild, for pouring (liberally) on pancakes and waffles, so we purchased a bottle of dark syrup to take home. The syrup is very reasonably priced: just $10 for a 250 ML bottle.
Our last stop was at the pancake barn, where we treated ourselves to a delicious pancake breakfast. The cost is $15 a plate for adults, which includes 2 pancakes, 3 sausages and a drink of your choice. (If you want to skip the sausages, you can also get a kids’ plate for $8, which is just the 2 pancakes and drink.) The pancakes were so yummy paired with the maple syrup, and believe me when I say there’s lots of that to go around! Not only is there a self-serve syrup station, but there are staff members continuously circling the picnic tables, bottle in hand, just in case anyone needs a “refill”. I’m one of those people that goes for a 2:1 syrup-to-pancake ratio (my grandma used to say she couldn’t even see the pancake on my plate) so this was perfect for me!
All in all, we had a fabulous time at Pefferlaw Creek Farms. The experience was fun, informative – and very, very tasty! If you’d like to see a little video tour of the farm, check out my Instagram reel of the experience here. Pre-booking is not required for the Maple Syrup Festival, so just show up and pay at the door. Be sure to wear a good pair of waterproof boots, as the sugar bush can get muddy! And if you’re not able to make it out to the farm in person but would still like to to enjoy some syrup, fear not: all of Pefferlaw Creek Farms’ products can be ordered online.
Have you ever been to a maple syrup farm? I know there are quite a few around Ontario, so if you have any ones to recommend, let me know – I’d love to check them out!
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