Scott making syrup
Scott making syrup

Spring at Sugar Moon Farm 

 

(March - April)

 

 

SUGAR MOON:  the Native American name for the sugaring season, the month of freezing nights & warm days usually coinciding with March/April. (also called Maple Moon) 

 

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about our Sugar Season:

 

When are you open?  Sugar season (March + April) we are OPEN Saturdays + Sundays 9 am to 5 pm. 

 

We're also OPEN Easter Weekend Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon 9 am to 5 pm.  

 

(We are actually OPEN year round, every weekend and then daily in July and August - check the hours on this site before you come up.)  

 

Our restaurant is serving whenever we are open.  We don’t take reservations for the restaurant during these hours. We do always appreciate a “heads up” if you are going to be a group larger than 15. 

 

Weekday reservations are available for schools and groups - minimum #'s and charge apply – check out our Group Packages. 

 

If you unsure as to whether we are open because the weather is questionable or it’s a holiday, try calling our toll-free line to find out – we update it as necessary.

 

1-866-81-maple

1-866-816-2753 

 

What about Easter Weekend?  We are open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Easter Weekend, 9 am to 5 pm.  

When do you serve meals?  We serve our fully-licensed maple brunch anytime we’re open/

Should we make reservations? 

We do NOT take reservations on weekends. 

So how do we manage our visit at your farm during such a busy season?   The farm can be very busy in the spring, especially on a sunny day.  This can be challenging if you have small children or elderly guests.  Be prepared:

IF YOU WANT TO EAT IN THE RESTAURANT:

  • try to arrive as close to (opening) 9 am as possible or after 3 pm
  • CHECK IN WITH THE HOSTESS FIRST THING upon arrival - give her the name of your party and how many your are - she'll give you an estimated wait time.  You can then wander and play and hopefully witness a boil in the sugar camp.   
  • HERE is our Sugar Season Menu 
  • depending upon the weather and time of day, expect a wait of up to 2-3 hours for a table in the restaurant, esp during the peak time of 10 am to 3 pm

IF YOU JUST WANT TO HAVE A TOUR, HIKE AND DO SUGAR ON SNOW:

  •  you shouldn't have to wait - the tours are indoors, FREE and every 1/2 hour all day - sugar on snow is $2/stick all day - ask staff about hiking trails and snowshoeing

IMPORTANT TO KNOW:

  • dress for snow and cold - we also have more of this up here!
  • know that you may have to park on the Alex MacDonald Road and walk down (less than 1/2 km)
  • consider coming later in the season (April) and you may not have to deal with a wait    
  • Babes in arms and elderly folk in your party?  Come check with us in the restaurant if you need assistance; we always reserve a little warm spot inside for families with special needs. 
  • There are two washrooms in the restaurant and two outside behind the building.  All are for both men and women.  There is a baby changing station inside the right-hand washroom in the restaurant.  Breastfeeding is welcome anywhere.  If we are boiling, check out the cozy chairs by the evaporator - they are perfect for nursing.   

We have a little "sugar shack" set up outside the front of the building for

What should we expect to do on your farm in the spring?  To summarize...when you arrive, you should talk to our hostess if you'd like to eat in the restaurant - there may be a wait for a table.  The hostess will put your name on a list, give you an estimated wait time and provide you with a brochure explaining all that we are offering on the farm, including trails, tours, sugar on snow etc.  While you're here you can 

§  Hike up to the Sugar Woods to see the tapped-in sugar maples (15 minutes one-way)

§  Snowshoe through the woods on our high-tech snowshoes (rented by the hour)

§  Tour our sugar camp (no cost – about 10 to 20 minutes)

§  Shop for maple products in our Maple Store

§  Treat yourself to Sugar on Snow – a classic sugar camp experience

§  Watch sap being boiled over a wood-fired evaporator (when we’re in production)

How long should we allow for a visit to your place?  Typically, folks spend around 2 to 3 hours at our place or longer if they hike the trails.  If you arrive mid-morning on a beautiful warm day in March + April expect to find lots of other visitors with the same idea.  We do not take reservations.  During the peak of the sugar season (mid-March to mid-April) warm and sunny days are very busy here, and sometimes there is a wait to get into our pancake house, especially Sundays during the last week of March and the first week of April, between the peak hours of 10 am to 3:00 pm. 

In order to avoid these potentially very busy days, we suggest visiting in early March or after the first week of April (we are open year round), or visiting right when we first open.  If we are boiling, you are welcome to wait in the sugar camp and stay warm...but if we are not boiling, there is not really any warm spot to wait, so do dress warmly! 

How can we time our visit so that we come when you are boiling the sap and making maple syrup?  It’s impossible for us to predict when the sap will run and therefore, when we are going to be boiling as it all depends upon Mother Nature.  However, we do keep our toll-free line updated (1-866-816-2753) as well as our Sap Journal.  We try to inform folks of upcoming boils.

Do you take group bookings?  We welcome group bookings on weekdays.  Minimum numbers and charges apply. 

What kinds of groups book at your farm?  Private parties, anniversaries and reunions, school groups, international groups, educational tours, visiting farmers on farm tours, seniors groups, church groups, youth groups, preschools, staff parties,  4-H’ers, business groups, etc.  We offer

§  educational tours of our sugar camp

§  sugar on snow

§  traditional Sugar Camp meals

§  hikes to the sugar woods

Do you do school tours?    Yes!  We love having schools at our farm year round.  This includes an educational tour of the sugar camp, a self-guided hike to the sugar woods, pancakes and juice (coffee/tea) and sugar on snow – a traditional sugar camp treat. 

What’s on your menu?  We serve a simple, quality maple breakfast all day.  We source all our ingredients as locally as possible:  our pancakes are made from fresh buttermilk and eggs and flour from Maritime-grown heritage wheat stone-ground at Speerville Mills in New Brunswick; our sausages are made just down the road at The Pork Shop and contain no fillers or preservatives; we make our own maple laced baked beans and fresh biscuits and serve only fairly traded, organically grown Nova Scotia roasted coffee from "just us!" – a worker-owned cooperative in the valley.  We also serve our own delicious toasted granola with maple glazed pecans.  Being fully licensed means that you get to sample such delights as Maple Cocktails, Maple Wine, Irish liqueur, and our Irish Coffee with a Sugar Moon twist (a maple sugar-rimmed glass filled with a shot of Irish Whiskey, a splash of maple syrup and strong coffee, topped with maple whipped cream and maple sugar).

Is this the same menu offered year round?  Yes, and more!  When we are not so busy (May through mid February) we also serve Shirred Eggs, Seasonal Frittatas and more.

How long are the tours and when do you do them and what do they cost?  Sugar Camp Tours usually take around 30 minutes and are offered at no charge.  Tours are offered throughout the day at regular intervals.  If we're otherwise occupied, you are always welcome to view the sugar camp and someone should be able to answer questions.  

How big is your sugar bush?  We have about 2500 taps on about 30 acres.  Our sugar bush is ¼ mile above our sugar camp and is gravity fed by tubing down to our camp. We boil our sap over a 5' x 14' evaporator fired with mountain hardwood.

When does the sap run?   The sap only runs in the spring, and usually whenever we get freezing and thawing weather.  These conditions can start anywhere from the end of February to the end of March, and usually last no longer than the end of April. The Sugar Season typically lasts for around 4 to 6 weeks total.  We consider that the sugar season to be March and April. 

What's the road like into your place? Sugar Moon Farm is located about 1 kilometre from the pavement (Hwy #311) on the Alex MacDonald Road, a gravel road.  The Alex MacDonald Road was built and is maintained by the Province of Nova Scotia.  They have been doing an excellent job of plowing, grading, sanding and salting it so that over 20,000 visitors a year can get in and out safely and without incident.  But weather can play havoc on roads everywhere in this part of the country...and especially during sugar season; the frost can come out very rapidly, and when coupled with heavy rains, it can create very rough and soft spots throughout rural Nova Scotia.  No wonder sugar season is also known as mud season!  So be prepared to negotiate your way through potholes and ruts and mud and rough spots in the spring.  The rest of the year its in great shape.

What else should we expect in terms of weather and site conditions?   Sugar season is also known as mud season...so dress accordingly.  As well, we are near the highest point in mainland Nova Scotia, and experience more snow and much colder weather than elsewhere in the province.  It means that sometimes you'll discover a winter wonderland here when the rest of Nova Scotia is out raking their lawns.  We suggest always dressing for cold and snow.

Is it a good place to bring kids?   Definitely!  We love having children here and we delight in the variety of sounds they make and questions they ask.  We have enjoyed watching many children grow up here and now some are bringing their own kids.  We have a baby-changing station in our washrooms and encourage breast feeding.  We have crayons for children to colour their placemats and a collection of beautifully illustrated children's books about maple sugaring to read as you wait for your meal or your tour. Our menu has children's portions and prices ($6 to $7).  The trails are definitely "doable" for kids - we've had entire Primary classes and younger making the trek to the sugar woods, and we always gear our tours to any children listening.  Sugar on Snow is our traditional sugar camp treat that both kids and adults find memorable.

Is it a good place to bring dogs?  Sugar Moon Farm is a 200 acre farm with horses, poultry, 2 livestock protection dogs and electric fences.  Dogs are not permitted on the farm property beyond the parking lot and must be on lead at all times.  Dogs may be walked down the Alex MacDonald Road toward the pavement.  As for the Rogart Mtn. Trail , it is a volunteer-built public trail that begins and ends on our property and crosses both private land and crown land.  County Bylaws require that all dogs be on lead.  We respectfully ask that guests keep their dogs on lead at all times. There are trails in the Gully Lake Wilderness area, just across the highway from our road.  That area would be more amenable to dogs off lead. 

Do you do sleigh rides/wagon rides?  We used to.  We may again if one day we have a healthy and sound team.

Are there any local accommodations so that we could make this a spring getaway? Yes, there are excellent accommodations in the local area.  Please check out the Central Nova Tourism Association website, for ideas.Or call or email Quita for more assistance. 

Is there anything else special going on in the spring that we should know about?   Yes, Earltown (1 mile from Sugar Moon) has its annual Community Maple Supper on the last Saturday in March from 10 am to 6 pm.  It’s a great slice of rural Nova Scotia life, with live music and volunteer-prepared pancake supper and goodies.  Sugar Moon sells product at that dinner and donates all the maple syrup they use on the tables.  We’re open that day as well, so make sure you visit both of us…as well as Maple Mist, another maple producer on the Kemptown Road a couple of miles from us. 

 

 

Hope this answers most of your questions!  Don’t hesitate to call or email if you need more information.

 

 

Best wishes,

 

Quita, Scott, Family and Staff

 

 

 
 

 

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