By Julián C. Chávez
Julián is a Market volunteer with a background as an organic food producer and educator in Colombia. Read about his experience delving into the world of Maple Syrup at the Market!
Since moving to Ottawa two months ago, I have discovered farmer markets, and I am excited to reconnect with food and learn more about its production. My second visit to the Aberdeen Pavilion brought me to one of the maple stands. I was surprised to find that not only did Maple honey exist, but that there were so many other products derived from this magnificent tree.
The first thing that came to mind when I thought of a food with similarities to maple in my country was coffee. If Colombia is recognized in the world it is for having the best coffee, if Canada is recognized in the world it is for Maple, something in common that both have is the number of different products that can be obtained from them.
It was great learning about the world of maple at the Garland Sugar Shack stand. They explained how they make maple honey, sugar, sweets, butters, syrups, jelly, maple covered popcorn, cotton candy, even wine! This product is truly versatile, and Canada has created an entire industry around it over time, making it a source of pride. Maple is such a major part of Canadian culture that even its leaves appear on the flag. A similar thing happens in Colombia where coffee is a national pride, as is maple syrup, and from coffee we make sweets, cookies, yogurt, jelly, ice cream, and liqueurs, even we have a coffee theme park. Many countries have foods that are the basis for many preparations, such that they create employment and even become the basis for economies after they have been processed and commercialized.
I have already tasted maple syrup, and it is delicious. It is present in my breakfasts, and I hope to do more with it in the future. When I visit the Ottawa Farmers Market again I will be sure to try another maple-based product!