Maple Sugar

2014-2015   |   Pleasant Vale, New Brunswick, Canada
Shaffer's Maples

One of my photography students owns a small maple sugar camp in rural southeastern New Brunswick, and he invited me out to see his operation. I happened to be looking for a new personal project, something that could occupy my time between the end of university sports and the start of lobster season (see Aboard the Irish Lass). A new self-assignment documenting his maple syrup operations sounded interesting and also fit in with the same "traditional occupations" theme as the lobster fishing.

Dennis' family has been making maple syrup and other maple products for several decades on land in and around his family's former farm. In his father's day, it helped to supplement the family income. Now, it's purely a hobby - a labour of love. The finished product isn't sold. Dennis and his wife Ann keep some of it, and the rest is distributed to family and friends.

I first visited Dennis' camp on the 21st of March 2014, when he began tapping the trees. I returned a few times that season and the next to document various aspects of the work, from gathering the sap to boiling it to make syrup.

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