Maple Tale: A Brief History of Fortune Farms - theHumm March 2020

Maple Tale: A Brief History of Fortune Farms - theHumm March 2020

By Ray Fortune

Once again the maple syrup season is here. After a wet dreary January it’s great to look forward to Spring and the taste of fresh maple syrup.

This will be the 47th year of making maple syrup at Fortune Farms. But it all started, in the Fortune family, about 1835 when Francis Fortune, my great grandfather, homesteaded in Leeds County. There is a record in the 1851 census of 60 pounds of maple sugar being made on his farm in that year. By 1861 that had increased to 600 pounds. In those days maple syrup was stored as blocks of sugar and reconstituted as syrup by melting in warm water. I suspect when no one was looking the children went into the pantry to chip off a piece of maple sugar for a delicious treat. My grandfather and father also made maple sugar and maple syrup. With the help of our children, we began making syrup in 1969 as a hobby and then in 1973 as a business here at Fortune Farms.

Our grandchildren are the sixth generation of our family to make maple syrup. That’s a span of about 170 years. We hope that in spite of global warming our great-grandchildren will also experience the thrill of making maple syrup.

You may recall that I wrote a poem for theHumm about Mr. Blake making maple syrup in the traditional manner with buckets and a boiling kettle. This is a poem about the more modern method now in use at Fortune Farms:

The snow was gently falling

as we headed to the bush.

It’s warmer in the forecast,

so it’s tapping with a rush.

Now tapping is a chore:

each tree must have its tap

connected to its pipeline

to collect the flowing sap.

Snowshoes are mighty handy

when deep snow is on the ground,

but they’re not so good in bushes

when you have to turn around!

There is a lot of equipment

that has to work just right,

when things don’t go as planned

means working half the night.

Finally it’s over!

The trees are all tapped in.

The equipment all is humming

and we’re ready to begin.

To make our syrup the modern way

we flick a switch or two

and watch the golden nectar

come flowing out to you.

The taste of fresh-made syrup,

that flavour can’t be beat,

s’worth all the fuss and bother

to get that special treat.

When all the syrup’s in the can

we’ve still got much to do.

There’s all the washing up

and cleaning through and through.

We’ve toiled away for hours

and our energy is spent.

We’ve had a bumper season,

but I’m awfully glad it’s “went”!


The Magical Imagination of Mária Moldován - theHumm March 2020

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

The mere mention of Transylvania anywhere in the Anglosphere immediately conjures up the occult adventures of Dracula. Having never met anyone from Transylvania before, your intrepid arts reporter was both mesmerized and intimidated by my utter lack of knowledge of the background of this month’s featured artist from Arnprior.

Mária Moldován’s astonishing art is as unfamiliar as her background — and just as fascinating. This accomplished and multi-talented artist weaves he......


Maple Marches into the Valley! - theHumm March 2020

By Sarah Kerr

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I love planning March with kids because its full of maple goodness; there’s still snow but lots of sunshine to get the sap running. The beginning of the agricultural seaso......


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- theHumm March 2020

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“The overwhelming success of the last two shows and......


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By Submitted Maureen Running and Nancy Chevrier, Social Justice Committee, CFUW Perth and District

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I always enjoy going through the Humm monthly. While looking for a winter adventure, I came across an article promoting stand-up comedy. I jumped at the chance, and for the last four weeks, seven......


Maple Tale: A Brief History of Fortune Farms - theHumm March 2020

By Ray Fortune

Once again the maple syrup season is here. After a wet dreary January it’s great to look forward to Spring and the taste of fresh maple syrup.

This will be the 47th year of making maple syru......


Meet Federal Green Party Candidate in Carleton Place
- theHumm March 2020

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In Memoriam
- theHumm March 2020

By Kris Riendeau

Shaun McLaughlin Former Mayor of Mississippi Mills

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