Recollections of Bert Hazelwood 1973

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Recollections of Bert Hazelwood 1973

Rae Side Road, near Hazelwood one Room Rural School.The family still sell maple syrup. This is a photo of Diane Sheet’s grandfather. 1970s from the Almonte and Carleton Place newspaper

Grace DrummondGreat memories Bert very often boiling when we walked past the sugar shack on our way toSS#5. School.

Lila Leach-JamesAw! Bert Hazelwood! We had same birthdays, different year, lol….miss Bert and Esther!

There are bigger and more modern maple syrup producers in Eastern Ontario but the father-and-son team of Bert and Alex Hazelwood are acknowledged masters of the art and have the reputation of being the first to tap. Bert Hazelwood, who confesses to being at least 70, took over the farm’s operation from his father-in-law more than 30 years ago.

He and his son Alex often have to work their 38 acres of maple bush 24 hours a day to produce the 400 gallons of syrup they anticipate each year. When the Hazelwoods start tapping, other producers in the area follow suit. Last Friday the sap was running well, and by this week’s end all 1,800 spikes should be embedded in the trees. High ground a boom Mr. Hazelwood said his maple bush is early because it’s on high ground with a limestone-enriched soil base. The limestone in the soil also tends to produce a lighter syrup, he said.

The Hazelwoods feel this is going to be a good year, although there is no way of estimating the amount of sap. “It takes the same amount of work, whether the result is 400 or 200 gallons of syrup.” Alex Hazelwood said. “Because’ always the same amount, of equipment must be set up, and later be stored again.” The work this demands is considerable, but the Hazelwoods do it all themselves, except for some help from neighbors.

But this year it’s nearly impossible to hire outside help, said Alex Hazelwood. In 1972 they had a paid helper for two full months. The senior Hazelwood boils the sap one gallon of syrup takes 35-40 gallons of sap while his son and his wife collect and transport it. The sap is hauled on a sled pulled by a bulldozer to two storage tanks which together hold 1,800 gallons. Evaporation goes on continuously.

On Sunday, though, the operation stops, “If the holding tanks and sap pails run over, they just run over, that’s all,” said the father. But they rarely do. His son said that Sunday was not a day for work or for worrying about it. He would not comment on any religious reasons for this. Apparently larger operations run on a seven-day basis throughout the 4 or 6-week season. When it’s not Sunday, their syrup goes for $9 a gallon. Bert Hazelwood can’t predict the crop size, but can assure the quality his syrup is among the best the district.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
16 Mar 1973, Fri  •  Page 3

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First Boil — photo from Stuart McIntosh

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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