I wrote a blog about the Maple Syrup tapping taking place at this time in Chatham-Kent. In the article, I mentioned the Giffin Maple Syrup Products operation. I recently read an article about that business with some very important updates on their operation. A fact that I was not aware of was the unexpected death in 2018 of Don Giffin who owned and operated the business with his wife since its beginning in 1983. Our deepest condolences to the family.
The Giffin's daughter, Diane and her husband Adrian Rivard returned home to Shrewsbury shorty after Don's death to help run the business. Adrian who grew up in Paincourt gave up a 15 year career as a commercial pilot to work side by side with his wife Diane who great up in the business and learned from her parents. They both feel they have big shoes to fill but are up to the task. After more than a year spend overhauling the operation and investing in technology to make it more efficient , their hard work is beginning to pay off.
They have installed eight miles, nearly 13 kilometres of food-grade tubing to collect and transport sap from two nearby woodlots. In comparison to the old method of collecting sap in buckets which would produce approximately one litre of syrup per tap in a tree, the tube is generating up to two and a half litres of syrup per tap.An added benefit is that the tighter seal with the tubing prevents bacteria from getting into trees and also increases the time for drawing sap. The tap holes are viable for a far longer time. The bucket system would give the tap a 3-4 week window to tap while the new system gives a much longer window. They have been drawing sap since February 3 and the taps are still extremely viable and healthy according to Adrian. Another major improvement in the operation is the fact that the tubing system is connected to a pump that draws the sap from the trees and pumps it to the evaporator about a kilometer away which has great decreased labor costs. They are also using a reverse osmosis unit in the production of the syrup. This osmosis process takes the sap from a two% concentration of sugars up to an 8-10 % before it even hits the evaporator says Rivard. This process reduces the boiling time as well as the fuel ,wood, needed to boil the sap into syrup further educing the cost of production.A pheumatic bottling machine has also been added to the kitchen facilities to speed up the process of bottling. Rivard said as they reduce the costs of production they plan to pass that down to their customers. Diane takes care of marketing selling social media and the administrative side of the business and plans to launch a new website soon. Watch for it.
Jean Giffin said her late husband would be absolutely thrilled with what has taken place and where the business is heading.
Congratulations to this family and how they have pulled together and brought one of our unique business' in Chatham-Kent into the future. WELL DONE!