Trites Maples — sharing family traditions
Just outside of Moncton, in Stilesville, NB, there’s a row of maple sugaries at the top of a gorge, collectively known as the “Maple Ridge.”
Some families — like the Trites family — have been producing Maple syrup here since the 1800’s. At one point, there were more than twice as many sugaries, tapping the nearly 500 year old trees that stretch out to the horizon.
“There were 9 or 10 on this ridge here when I was a kid,” said Darrell Trites, a third generation maple producer who spent his life on the property and continues to carry on the business and philosophies of his grandfather.
The Trites family operates the sugary and pancake house at the end of the strictly walking-only trail.
Park your car at the top of the ridge, next to the church, and walk past relics of the maple industry in this province — old sugar shacks, old tractors, and trees tapped with metal spouts and hanging metal buckets.
There are now four sugaries in operation, most of which welcome visitors, eager to see the processes and taste the thick maple taffy poured on the snow.
The Trites family have several large buildings on their property, including their now-famous pancake house. Busloads of international tourists, and in-the-know locals stroll up throughout the short season. Many remember coming as kids, and now bring their own children.
“We’re happy to open our doors to the public for 6 weeks of the year, and share our family tradition” said Joy Trites. “It becomes their family tradition as well.”
Joy — a Quebec native — met Darrell, got married, and now works in the family business as well. She comes from the other maple hub in the country, but claims NB has the best maple syrup around.
“It’s actually true,” she says. “It’s not as good there as it is here.”
Darrell and his late brother, Brent, resurrected the sugary to its current form nearly 40 years ago. The maple trees had been used in different capacities from the 1800s up to then.
Throughout their operation, the family has picked up stories from the early days, including one of Rufus Trites, Darrell’s grandfather, who used the property in his mixed farming operation. Maple syrup was his spring crop.
One lady used to come by after school, to sneak a taste of the sweet crop. She remembers a friendly man, telling her and her friends that they could “eat what you want, but pocket none.”
The family continues to carry on this spirit of generosity.
“We want to make this place affordable, so that families can afford to come here,” said Joy. “It’s not about the money for us. It’s about sharing the family tradition, and it’ll never be expensive for that reason.”
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