September 25, 2022
Neil Ripley of Ripley's Sugarwoods
Neil Ripley of Ripley's Sugarwoods checking the maple syrup consistency

The maple syrup industry here in Cumberland County has a long, rich, and very sweet history, and thanks to a recent documentary that showcased the stories of 3 local families in the industry, it hopes to go from strength to strength. The documentary was sponsored by the Cumberland Business Connector, who have a series of informative videos on their Facebook page that showcases local businesses and highlights the diverse opportunities that exist here in our county.

The 22-minute film was directed by Patrick Manifold and produced by Cumberland County based production and marketing agency, Nova Social Media & Marketing. The director said “This documentary tells the story of 3 families that have been producing maple syrup in our community for generations. It covers the history, science and innovation of the process from 3 different perspectives, and can now be used as a tool for learning in our local schools, so we are very proud of it.”
Bill Davison of Newville Farm and Davison’s Pancake House in Parrsboro was the first to be featured, and gives us a wonderful history lesson that dates back hundreds of years that involves the Mi’kmaq people as well as the Acadians. Davison’s is a family business that includes his wife and son in the operation, and his passion for the subject is obvious to all who watch.


Next up was Neil Ripley of Ripley’s Sugarwoods in Fenwick. Mr. Ripley’s first memories were of being in the maple woods with his family as a very young boy, and he later revealed that his family has been involved in maple production in the area since the late 1800’s.

Maple Creme Maple Leaves made from fresh maple syrup


Next up was Neil’s daughter Tracey Bowden, and her admiration for her father’s work ethic was heart warming to see. Bowden said “He is one of the hardest working men I’ve ever met. It doesn’t matter if it snows, it doesn’t matter if it storms, work has to be done. He is great!”. We are then transported to a beautiful aerial view of Rodney on the outskirts of Springhill, where we are introduced to Kevin McCormick of McCormicks Maple. McCormick was previously the president of the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia.


McCormick went on to say “It’s a naturally made product, it’s healthy, and the research has shown that it’s much better than processed sugars so it’s good for your body and good for your health. Get out and enjoy visiting the maple operations, you’re out in nature and I know the local producers would love to see you.”


This documentary gives us all a reason to be proud of our community and the products we produce here. But pride only gets these businesses so far – what they really need is the support of their community. Thankfully we can all do something, whether it is as small an act of kindness such as sharing the video on your Facebook page, or a larger effort like taking your family and friends for a walk in the sugarwoods and showing your support with your feet and your wallet – the old adage is true; every little helps.


It is our hope that this important film inspires us all to support our local maple syrup producers year-round. Of course you can and should visit as many of the operations in the county as possible during maple season, but you can also use their maple products in every season.


We may be slightly bias, but in our opinion, we think that Cumberland County maple syrup is one of the best tasting syrups you can buy. But just as important as buying delicious and healthy produce for our families, it is equally important to support local businesses and local families who have worked tirelessly for decades to bring us the very best of what mother nature has to offer.


If you haven’t already, click here to watch the documentary for yourself, and once it’s finished, please don’t forget to support local and share it with your friends and family online.


Now that you know the history, science and innovation of maple syrup production here in Cumberland, we hope that next time you enjoy some delicious locally made maple syrup, that you can enjoy it even more knowing what goes into creating it. Life really is sweet here in Cumberland!

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