The Lunch Box: A Sap Experience
If you drive south of Thunder Bay towards Cloud Lake in Neebing Township, you will reach the base of a hill that looks like the many others surrounding it. Even though it looks like you're in for a walk in the woods, you’ve got to hike through some steep terrain, winding through the curves of a boreal forest trail to make it to the sugarbush. You'll soon realize there's a reason why we like to call this climb the "Hike of Doom".
Once you do make it, you are greeted by the Maple Guys who run the show. It’s a northwestern Ontario spring day in every way. The sun is out, the snow is melting, there are still chunks of ice scattered around. Depending on the year, it may be muddy or covered entirely in snow. That’s the beauty of the sugar shack.
All that fresh air and activity calls for a quality lunch. We asked Nomad Bakeshop & Sandwich Bar to create a lunch to define our own maple identity here in northwestern Ontario. You are holding a box full of these treats to connect you to that sweet, pure syrup the Nor’Wester Maple Company makes every year.
Sugar maples have a higher concentration of sugar, which is why they are excellent for tapping to produce maple syrup. Sap is mostly water with a 2% sugar content. As the shift between freezing and thawing takes place during spring (a pattern we are all well aware of in northwestern Ontario), pressure builds up in the trees leading to sap flowing from the holes where they are tapped.
In addition to the bottle of pure sap in your box, we have also provided you with a Sap Sucker beverage as an example of how sap can be used in food products beyond its maple syrup form. While this specific product is not made in our region, it still comes from our province of Ontario (Flesherton, to be exact). Full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, it is a great alternative to sugary soda cans.