IFAJ ag tour: Bison and Maple Syrup

During last week’s International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) 2011 Congress I participated in the two-day Lake Ontario agriculture tour. The tour took us east of Toronto to visit a bison farm and a maple syrup business. From there we drove to Prince Edward County, a piece of fertile land jutting into Lake Ontario, where we visited a winery, cider company and grain farm. After spending the night in Belleville, we made our way to Niagara Falls with a pit stop at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, a research station for horticulture crops. In today’s blog post I’ll share photos from our visit to the bison farm and maple syrup business.
 
Ag Fact: There are almost 2,000 bison producers who own over 250,000 bison in Canada. Canada’s bison producers are concentrated in the western provinces with less than five per cent from Ontario and the east.
 
Century Game Park is owned by Rod Potter, who is the fifth generation to live on his family’s land. Potter began raising and selling bison in 1987 and elk in 1992. Today, he has 75 bison and 18 elk. We drove into the pasture to get up close and personal with the bison, and then enjoyed some bison appetizers back at the farm.
 
We all piled on the back of trucks and wagons pulled by tractors to venture into the pasture to see the bison. This is our driver.
 
Part of our caravan driving through the pasture.
 
 
Bison at Century Game Park in Ontario.
 
 
The bull who weighs about 1 tonne.
 
Bison appetizers.
 
Ag Fact: Canada and the United States are the only two maple syrup producing countries in the world. The province of Quebec produces the majority of the maple syrup in Canada with New Brunswick, Ontario and Nova Scotia producing small amounts each.
 
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Sandy Flat Sugar Brush, owned by George and Alice Potter, who began making syrup in the early 1970s. Sap is collected from more than 5,000 taps on 50 acres of maple trees at Sandy Flat. It takes approximately 40 litres of sap to make one litre of maple syrup.
Lunch at the Sandy Flat Sugar Bush in Ontario.
We had lunch in this barn.
Collecting sap from maple trees at Sandy Flat.
 
This was our ride during the tour. On Twitter we referred to it as our "kind of a big deal" bus as #kindofabigdeal was trending on Twitter that day.

Stay tuned for the next post on my IFAJ ag tour.

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One thought on “IFAJ ag tour: Bison and Maple Syrup

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  1. that is awesome that you rode on the back of trucks to get so close to the bison… kinda scary too. it sounds like you had a pretty good conference. well worth the trip out here!

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