Rock Creek Maple Festival and Rock Creek SugarworkS

On October 4th, Bissell Maple Farm will be celebrating the grand opening of our Rock Creek Sugarworks campus.  To celebrate our new business and maple syrup outlet – we are having a Maple Festival.  We hope to see lots of visitors stop in for some pancakes with maple syrup, live music, some pumpkins, and a gander at our furniture made from used oak barrels.  We will even have some cool refinished antique factory railroad carts for sale.  Oh, and we hope to have some of the legendary maple ice cream available in the afternoon.  We’ll be serving pancakes around 9AM – come join us!

Sugar Maple, sometimes called Hard Maple or Rock Maple, in autumn colors.  Photo by Deb Knecht.
Sugar Maple, sometimes called Hard Maple or Rock Maple, in autumn colors.  Photo by Deb Knecht.

 

I know what you are thinking.  Why are you having a maple festival in the fall, isn’t maple syrup made in the spring?  Yes, maple syrup is made in the spring….and so is snow, ice, and mud.   We like the idea of a fall maple festival for a few reasons.  First, we really want to celebrate the grand opening of Rock Creek Sugarworks.  It has been a major undertaking and we want to celebrate the hard work put into this endeavor.  Secondly, the October weather in NE Ohio is awesome!  It is a great time of year to start a new tradition in Ashtabula County.  Third, why not?!?!  Rock Creek is loaded with beautiful maple trees all over the village.  When the leaves change colors – the foliage on a sugar maple tree is the brightest and a reminder that the sugaring season is just around the corner.

“What is a Sugarworks?”

In northeast Ohio the region was dotted with maple syrup canneries called “Sugarworks”.  We like the word sugarworks because it evokes a sense of our Ohio maple heritage.  During the Civil War, northerners protested cane sugar produced with slave labor.  Instead, northerners consumed maple sugar as our primary sweetener.  In fact, 70% of the maple syrup made in the late 1800’s was turned into granulated maple sugar.  And we still use and hear the terms of yester-year in our vernacular regarding maple syrup and the production of Ohio’s first crop.  Terms like sugarmaker, sugaring, or sugarhouse have a traditional meaning – just like Sugarworks.

Rock Creek Sugarworks features maple syrup in Rock Creek, OH
Rock Creek Sugarworks features maple syrup in Rock Creek, OH

You’ve heard the terms Ironworks, Waterworks, or Leatherworks from the same era in our country’s history.  It was simple, descriptive, and industrial in nature – just like Sugarworks.  We just wanted to bring the term back, not just as a reminder of our heritage, but as a statement.  Rock Creek is becoming a cornerstone of Ohio’s Maple Trail.

 

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