Tapping for maple syrup in St. John's
Most people get their maple syrup from the shelves of their local grocery store, but at least one couple in St. John's has taken a different route to get the Canadian must-have sweet stuff.
Steve and Lisa McBride, along with their two goats Maple and Goldie, discovered they could tap the maple trees on their property to get the freshest of the fresh pantry staple.
"When I was reading what the conditions were for making maple syrup, it needs to get below freezing at night and above freezing during day, and I thought, 'gee, that's just about three months of the season here in Newfoundland,'" he said.
They decided to give it a try, and tapped one of the trees in their backyard and stuck a bucket onto it to let the sap flow.
And it worked. After a short time, they managed to collect enough sap to bring back to their house to make the syrup.
Goats Goldie and Maple provide milk, but they've got more than just one job — the McBrides recruit the goats to bring the buckets of sap back home.
"We have a saddle and a pack, and the goats will come with us when we go. She'll take a nibble on the trees while we're collecting the syrup, then we'll put it in her little pack and she'll carry it home for us so we don't have to," Lisa McBride said.
Taste the difference
Lisa McBride said the freshness of their cultivated product makes all the difference in taste, but that's not the only perk.
"It really does have different qualities than when you get store bought maple syrup," she said.
"Your cost is going way down and your delicious factor is going way up, and it's all local — all sustainable."
According to Steve McBride, having sustainable food sources is a tricky business for people in Newfoundland and Labrador, but it's not impossible.
"That's one of the missing links, I think, for anyone that's interested in producing their own food here in Newfoundland," he said.
"You can grow your own vegetables, you can forage or grow your own fruits, but sugar is something that we always have to import. And anything that we can do to produce things right here is a step in the right direction."