by Clare Milton
Sugar-makers are planning events across the state during Maine Maple Sunday Weekend, which takes place Saturday, March 26th and Sunday the 27th.
You know spring is coming when you see the steam from the sugarhouse evaporator streaking skyward. The aroma of sweet maple overwhelms you as you enter any Maine sugarhouse. It really is a process! All the sugar-makers I met have a gleam in their eye and a smile on their face when they speak about the process of making maple syrup.
First, there are the countless cords of wood that have been harvested and dried all year, ready to keep the sugarhouse fires stoked. January is a time to assemble the tapping equipment, miles of tubing, taps and spiles ready to venture into the sugarbush. I met many happy dogs who joyfully escort their families into the sugarbush. Once the taps are in, they are ready for the warm March days and cold nights.
Once the sap is running, the race is on! The sap must be boiled within 24–48 hours. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup! All hands-on deck are required when “The Boil” begins.
Maine Maple Sunday Weekend is a premiere event held simultaneously all across Maine. Some sugarhouses are only open to the public on that weekend while others offer on-site and mail orders all year round. It is also a time to showcase new maple products. Coated nuts, cotton candy, infused syrups, maple granulated sugar, whoopie pies, maple cream, maple habanero and ghost pepper syrup flavors and lots more.
Maine Maple Producers are being proactive to follow covid guidelines. Much of their events are outside. Walks and carriage rides into the sugarbush are available. Easter egg hunts and outside games for the kids are being offered at individual locations. No two events are the same. Check the Maine Maple Sunday Weekend website www.mainemapleproducers.com or visit them on Facebook to find sugarhouses in your area.
Put on your jacket and boots, bring the family and enjoy a Maine March tradition! Maine Maple Sunday Weekend welcomes all!