Sweet deal! SD&G leases forest to maple syrup producer

SD&G Planning Director Ben de Haan shows off a mock-up of a SD&G labelled A&B Maple Syrup bottle during a council meeting on Monday, April 19, 2021. The county has signed a 10-year lease with the maple syrup producer to tap a county-owned forest near Dalkeith, Ont. (SD&G/Zoom via Newswatch Group)

SD&G – The United Counties of SD&G is signing a long-term lease with a maple syrup producer to tap a forest, north of Dalkeith.

“I had really hoped we would be able to have a pancake breakfast and I want to show this off because this is essentially what we’re agreeing to, some liquid gold,” Planning Director Ben de Haan said, holding up a glass bottle to the Zoom camera Monday morning (April 19).

County council has approved the 10-year agreement with Fournier, Ont.-based A&B Maple Syrup to tap trees in the northeastern section of the Howard S. Mitchell forest.

The county will thin out the forest and sell the firewood to pay for installing hydro service to the syrup collection area, which de Haan estimates will cost about $3,000.

The county will be paid by A&B Maple Syrup at a rate of 80 cents per tap, or about $2,400 a year. The county has the option to be paid in either cash or maple syrup at market value.

“A&B Maple Syrup has been excellent to work with thus far. They enjoy this as a quasi-hobby for the principals of that company. They would like to, if the county is interested, provide some educational opportunities,” de Haan explained.

The lease is renegotiable after five years based on the price market for maple syrup.

“We look forward to pancakes next year, Mr. de Haan,” Warden Frank Prevost joked.

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