In Prosser Brook time slows as the Beamans bottle this spring’s bounty, using old methods and pride to produce their famous maple syrup.
After a drive through the countryside to Prosser Brook in Albert county New Brunswick, you arrive at their cabin which has served as a bottling facility for generations. Their son Stephen runs the business but Paul and Helen Beaman, now retired, still work during the busy season. As we enter the cabin, we are welcomed by wood smoke mingling with the sweet odour of hot maple syrup.
While Helen heats, strains, pours and then captures golden liquid in plain glass bottles, she carries on an unhurried conversation with this visitor from “away”. As she explains the time-worn labour intensive steps, she never ceases to move. Paul, her husband, waits patiently to fix labels to each capped bottle.
Pausing to wipe her hands on a well-used towel, Helen bangs a sample block of maple cream against the side of the wooden counter. She passes around chunks of this unbelievable treat. It is simply wonderful.
“Oh,” I say as I glance at a price list tacked to the cabin wall. “These must be your prices from a long time ago.”
Helen chuckles and points to the bottom of the paper. “No, see here, 2013.” She has no trouble selling me six half-pound bars of this maple cream. I will be very popular back home.
I take a few more pictures of golden bottles highlighted by the spring sunshine. Reluctantly, clutching my treats, I get set to leave…to leave this piece of working history, the wood smoke, maple odours, and the warmth of true Maritime hospitality.
Maple syrup has to be heated before it is bottled in order to raise the % of sugar (should be 66.6%), enabling it to keep on store shelves without refrigeration and to seal the bottle caps.
Maple syrup runs through a spigot into the transfer bucket.
Helen pours the rest of the heated syrup into the bucket.
Hot maple syrup is filtered through layers of cheesecloth.
Each bottle has to be filled to the brim since the syrup settles as it cools.
Paul waits to apply the labels.
Sunlight reflected through bottled syrup.
This photo essay is written by Lin Weich. All photos were taken in available light, no flash and with a Pentax W10 waterproof camera.
Phone 250 747 3312
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