By Brian Buckley
After a two-year hiatus the Circle of Friends resumed its practice of an annual outing to a sugar bush during maple syrup season.
On March 26 approximately 25 friends and associates visited Fortune Farms, a family owned and operated sugar bush just outside Almonte. The owners greeted us with their usual warm hospitality, making everyone feel welcome, sharing sweet samples of their products, and providing us with a site and picnic tables for our outdoor meal – complete with campfire.
Fortune Farms is an interesting site. The operators are proud of their work and are always willing to explain the intricacies of the syrup making operation. In addition to a large, modern production facility that guests are welcome to visit, the Farms maintain two other sites to show how the making of maple syrup has evolved over the centuries. The Kettle Boys – volunteers who dress in period costume – were on hand to keep the 19th century kettles boiling and share a sample and a joke with visitors.
As on previous occasions we had far more food for our picnic than we could consume – though we tried our best. The variety, quality, and quantity were all impressive. People wandered among the three picnic tables it took to hold our supplies, sampling items from different cultures and getting to know each other. Even the weather co-operated. Though rain threatened a few times, it held off and we were able to enjoy our meal together comfortably ensconced around the campfire.
Planning is already underway for a visit next year.
You can read more about the Circle of Friends in this previous blog post.