With roots over 75 years deep on White Meadows Farms, the Bering family is as passionate as ever to connect visitors like yourself with the unique character, quality, history and craft behind Canada’s sweetest natural treasure — 100% Pure Maple Syrup.
Commitment to the Environment
From energy conservation to composting and recycling, we take bold steps wherever possible to preserve our planet.
Energy efficient LED spotlights are replacing halogen spotlights in The Maple Sweet Shop, reducing our yearly electricity consumption.
A great deal of fuel must burn in order to boil the water laden sap into 100% Pure Maple Syrup. Aware of the environmental impact of fossil fuels, we’ve opted to not follow the path of many modern maple producers that heat their evaporators with oil. Instead, we follow the pioneers’ example and heat with wood from dead or overcrowded trees in our sugar bush. The ash from this renewable fuel is then used to enrich the soil of crop fields.
To reduce waste, our packaging is done in-house, on-demand. Labels are printed with water based ink to eliminate harmful solvents from entering the environment.
We sort all biodegradable waste, from paper products to food waste, to be composted on site and recycled as fertilizer for the fields. All plastic recycling is taken to a local recycling facility and processed into something new. We’ve reduced the waste we send to the landfill by over 75%!
Our farm workshop hits its highest energy demand during the cold winter months. To cut down our carbon imprint, we installed a solar heating system to supplement our current heating system in 2009.
When you support businesses like ours that take steps to preserve our environment, you take a step to ensure a sustainable future and a greener tomorrow.
Our Popcorn Story
In 2010 our very first batch of Maple Kettle Corn made with “locally-grown” popcorn was ready to be bagged. We haven’t looked back since.
The End of an Era
Summer 2008, the local juice grape market slumped and forced us to remove our 50 year old Concord and Niagara grape vines. Over 8 weeks we hewed vines, pulled posts, wound wire and excavated roots, grafting two of our three now vacant vineyard plots into our conventional farming operation. Demanding physically, it was also an emotional time — the end of an era. But there were still 2.5 acres in the corner of the farm, the third vineyard plot, that waited on us for a new purpose.
A New Era
We’d been frequenting local farm markets to introduce our new sweet and salty Maple Kettle Corn and, oh boy! It was stirring a fan base. People kept asking, “Where is the popcorn from?” and to our chagrin we had to reply, “Not from around here,” with the USA being the only place we could purchase large enough quantities for our demand. The more this question got asked, the more we started to think — “Why not grow our own?” After all, we did have 2.5 vacant acres looking for a new purpose.
We jumped into the research … and we probably should have stopped there. Popcorn is far from similar to any crop we’d grown, and needed a much longer growing season than traditional corn. If we planted just a fraction too late, the popcorn would fail to mature before autumn’s first frost and the entire crop would be destroyed. Not to mention, we needed to find seed suitable for our end product — the Maple Kettle Corn.
Going for It
Spring 2009, the seed we’d found was delivered and our very first field of popping corn was planted, on time. But timing it seemed wasn’t everything. Corn loves the heat of summer and that summer was anything but hot. Day after day of wet, cool weather slowed the growth of our little experiment and as August closed, our popcorn was far from ready. September rolled in with a belated heatwave and our 9 foot corn plants raced to maturity.
October 19, 2009 we harvested our very first crop of popping corn, but the real work had only begun. Thanks to the wet summer, mould festered on many of the cobs and every cob had to be hand-inspected before entering the grain bin to dry. Ever wonder how many cobs can grow on 2.5 acres? Approximately 140,000! A third of the crop failed our scrutiny. After 2 weeks in the bin, our cobs were ready to shell. We grabbed our shovels and moved those cobs from the bin to the shelling machine — all 5 tonnes! Once shelled, all kernels were shipped off to be cleaned over the Christmas holidays.
February 7, 2010 – a year and a half after our idea to grow our own popcorn went into motion, our very first batch of Maple Kettle Corn, made with “locally-grown” popcorn was bagged. We haven’t looked back since.
A Bit of History…
1937 – The Bering family settles on 200 acres of cropland and forest nestled amongst rolling meadows. Here they raise dairy cows, juice grapes and cash crops. The meadows just outside the family’s kitchen window burst white each summer with daisies earning the nickname White Meadows, later to win its place as the farm’s official name.
1940 – Just for fun and curiosity’s sake, the first Bering to own the farm, Adam, harvests some sap and boils maple syrup with his son Gasper this winter.
1960 – Wanting to pass the experience on to his own son, Gasper teaches Murray how to harvest the watery maple sap and boil it into sugary syrup.
1989 – Third generation Bering on White Meadows Farms, Murray, and his wife, Ann, begin to tap some of the farm’s maple trees and boil maple syrup on their stovetop. As Murray and Ann’s appreciation for Maple Syrup, one of Canada’s oldest crafts and purest natural foods, flourishes, the number of pots on their stovetop grows, and inevitably, so does their circle of friends.
1991 – Murray and Ann purchase their first hobby evaporator and house it in a refurbished chicken coop, allowing them to boil a lot more maple syrup than their stovetop will permit.
1993 – Around sugaring season, Murray and Ann serve their maple syrup and pancakes to visitors on picnic tables inside a modified greenhouse called The Pancake Hut. They also construct their first official “sugaring house” and install a much larger evaporator, again increasing their maple syrup production.
1994 – Murray and Ann transform their one-car garage into The Maple Sweet Shop. They also take curious visitors into the sugar bush to see where maple syrup comes from. The Sugar Bush Adventure with re-enactors officially kicks-off in 1998.
1996 – The Berings upgrade their tap and pails to a pipeline system, increasing the efficiency of their maple sap harvest.
2000 – White Meadows Farms’ large, completely accessible, Maple Lodge is constructed from rough sawn local timber. The new lodge replaces the canvas pancake hut with a 120-seat, cafeteria-style, dining area. It also houses the farm’s new production-focused kitchen and the current Sugar Shack.
2003 – Getting even more creative with maple syrup, the Berings introduce the first of their gourmet maple products, the Original Maple BBQ Sauce, to showcase maple syrup’s versatility.
2006 – White Meadows Farms sells the dairy herd but continues to cash crop alongside their growing maple syrup business.
2008 – A slumping grape market forces the farm to remove its juice grapes. The following year popcorn is grown in its place to make the farms’ Maple Kettle Corn truly local.
2009 – Murray and Ann’s sons, Richard and Nick, become more invested in the farm’s maple syrup production — beginning the fourth generation to operate the farm.
2014 – The farm switches to an entirely maple syrup focus as Murray retires from hay farming. However, the Berings notice a dilemma. All of the local sugar-makers stop maple syrup celebrations after the brief Feb-April sugaring season, leaving warm-weather visitors with little way to discover and enjoy Canada’s sweet delight. The Berings decide to start a new tradition. They set new operating times for their maple-dedicated Sweet Shop and begin hosting the Discover Maple Tour, ensuring guests can celebrate 100% Pure Maple Syrup any time of the year!
2015 – After 15 years of serving pancakes to the public alongside sugar bush tours in the springtime, the owners wanted to adjust their focus. Instead of solely attracting people to the farm property, they decided to place a greater emphasis on bringing their products to their customers! They closed the restaurant and reinvented the space to be the central head office of White Meadows Farms where they now focus on production of handmade gourmet maple products, educational tours and product sales. If you miss the taste of our pancakes, don’t fret, we have our mix available in our stores and online so you can make them at home. Our baked beans are also available in the Maple Sweet Shop.
2016 – Our seasonal, self-guided Sugar Bush Tour, dubbed The Sugar Bush Adventure, has been replaced with the all new Sugar Bush Trek.
2017 – In December this year, White Meadows Farms opens the first off-site retail store called The Maple Syrup Store located inside the retail concourse at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls.
2019 – In October, Richard Bering, along with his wife Amanda and their two eager kiddos officially become the new faces of White Meadows Farms. Ann moves towards retirement while Murray still helps to bottle maple syrup and assist with other projects around the farm.