MADAWASKA – A bone chilling, never-ending winter and even a fire could not stop a Quebec native from realizing his dream in Madawaska.
Morgan Arthur has just opened a large maple syrup production south of Madawaska on Highway 523. It’s called Arthur’s Maple Products and to date, 13,000 maple trees are tapped on the property.
Arthur is a sixth-generation maple producer from Rockburn, Quebec. He wanted to expand to Ontario due to Quebec’s quota system, which was adopted in 2003 to resolve surplus production.
“There’s many issues in Quebec,” he said.
So, Arthur took to the internet in search of properties in Ontario. He found and purchased a 300-plus acre property just south of Madawaska owned by the Murray family.
By October 2013, he was clearing the land for a sugar shack and hiring some local workers to tap the trees and help run the lines. He said he was surprised by the hospitality of his neighbours and the region in general.
He had originally wanted to tap 20,000 trees, but was unsuccessful after a challenging winter.
“What a year,” he reminisced. “Weather was an issue. I think overall, it cost me 30 per cent more.”
Employees were using snowshoes to get through the bush from December until recent weeks. Despite the constant snowfall and frigid weather, staff only missed two days when the temperature dipped below -40 Celsius.
“My workers around here were excellent,” he said.
In addition to a cruel winter, Arthur had several problems with the Ministry of Transportation that delayed business.
Get your April 16, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read this full story.