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Mapleside captures 2 awards

A Rankin-area maple syrup producer has made a big splash on the international scene.

Ray and Carol Anne Bonen-berg, owners of Mapleside Sugar Bush, won two awards at an International Maple Syrup Con-ference, held in Stratford, Ontario last month.

The Bonenbergs were in Strat-ford for the annual North Ameri-can Maple Council (NAMSC) conference Oct. 20 to 23. NAMSC is an international net-work of associations represent-ing 16 maple producing U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Mapleside won first place overall for its maple butter and brought home a second place ribbon for its maple red pepper jelly.

NAMSC president Rick Marsh, in presenting the awards to the Bonenbergs, said, "Our associa-tion has been supporting value-added maple products as a way of broadening the appeal and use of maple syrup. Mapleside is making some excellent products. They have certainly earned these awards."

Carol Anne Bonenberg was quite excited about the awards.

" We entered three items in the competition, without any real expectation of winning," she said.

"It was our first time entering and we were up against produc-ers from Canada and the U.S., so it was a thrill to do so well in two categories."

Ray Bonenberg said maple products are experiencing a bit of an upswing in popularity with consumers right now.

"Maple has always been popu-lar with a lot of people," he said. "It's a great natural food that can be used in so many ways."

He added recent research is showing that maple syrup is very high in nutritional value, and that is making a difference for health-conscious consumers.

Maple is an excellent source of nutrients such as manganese, riboflavin and zinc. But it has also shown to contain active antioxidant elements, compara-ble to Gala red apples, broccoli and bananas.

"There was quite of bit of excitement at the conference with the new information coming out about the health qualities of maple products," Bonenberg said.

"As a producer here in the Ottawa Valley, that just means people have another reason to use our product. It's good news."

Mapleside Sugar Bush, just off Highway 41 near Rankin, is a popular source of local maple products. The Bonenbergs are regular vendors at the Taste of the Valley show, a popular stop on the Rural Ramble, and partic-ipate at various shows and events throughout the year.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

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