Maine Maple Sunday celebrations

The cold nights and warm days of early spring bring the sap run that produces Maine’s sweetest resource — maple syrup.

The state’s maple producers are gearing up for Maine Maple Sunday, observed this year on March 27. Join in as maple producers around the state celebrate Maine Maple Sunday and open the doors of their sugarhouses for the public to join them in this rite of spring. Here’s a chance to see firsthand how 40 gallons of maple sap are turned into just one gallon of golden delight you pour over hot pancakes… or ice cream.

Most sugarhouses offer tastings and live demonstrations of how syrup is produced, from tap to table. Many offer a variety of other treats and activities, including syrup on pancakes or ice cream, sugar bush tours, sleigh or wagon rides, and lots more.

Maple syrup is the best substitute for sugar. When you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t forget to consider using maple syrup, which contains fewer calories and a higher concentration of minerals. A few quick serving ideas include: using maple syrup in place of table sugar as a sweetener; it gives tea and coffee a unique taste. Pour maple syrup on oatmeal topped with walnuts and raisins, or add maple syrup and cinnamon to puréed cooked sweet potatoes. Combine maple syrup with orange juice and tamari and use it as a marinade for baked tofu or tempeh; or spread peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat toast, topping it with sliced bananas, and then drizzling maple syrup on top, for a sweet, gooey treat. Maple syrup is also an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a good source of zinc.

Among sugarhouses participating in Maine Maple Sunday this Sunday, March 27, are the following local farms and businesses:

• Thunder Hill Farm, 42 Bell Road, Waterford — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Boiling down sap, samples syrup on ice cream, maple syrup for sale. Working steer team demonstration, collecting sap, conditions permitting, view highland beef cows. Farm tours, restrooms. For more information, call 583-4146.

• McAllister’s Farms Sugarhouse, 25-A Five Kezars Road, North Waterford — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, off Route 35 across from Melby's Market. Activities include boiling of sap, making maple cream, free samples of maple cream, maple syrup on ice cream and maple coffee. Will have farm animals for everyone to see — goats, rabbits, chickens and cows. Come see the new sugarhouse gift shop. The third annual “All you can Eat” pancake breakfast and more on Saturday, March 27, from 8 a.m. to noon at the North Waterford church across from the sugarhouse, with proceeds to benefit the church steeple fund. For more information, call 583-2389 or 583-4903.

Weston’s Farm, 48 River Street, Fryeburg — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Maple syrup and maple products, tours and demonstrations of this 200-year-old family farm, samples of maple syrup on ice cream. Restrooms available, handicapped accessible. For more information, call 935-2567.

• Grandpa Joe’s Sugar House, 163 Murch Road, North Baldwin — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. BBQ breakfast and lunch both days, annual maple cook-off on Sunday at 1 p.m. (entries due by noon), music entertainment both days to include “Justus” and “Low Tide String Band.” Farm tours, sugar bush tours, restrooms, handicapped accessible, bus and school tours. For more information, call 653-3647 or 787-3300.

• Greene’s Maple Farm, 77 Bridgton Road, Sebago — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Route 107 and Long Hill Road. Six-generation farm and maple syrup operation. Always open the fourth Sunday in March, other days by appointment or chance. Pancake breakfast at Sebago Town Hall sponsored by the volunteer fire company, with maple syrup donated by Greene’s Maple Farm. For more information, call 787-2424.

• Kyle’s Maple Syrup Shack, Route 113 and Douglas Hill Road, West Baldwin — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sugarhouse tour, pancakes with syrup in the morning, maple syrup on ice cream all day, shirts, hats, sweatshirts and maple products for sale. For more information, call 625-4605.

• Sweet William’s, 66 Spiller Road, Casco — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., located off Route 11, 1/4 mile south of intersection of Routes 11 and 85. Detailed explanation of syrup-making process, sugar bush tours. Free samples of their syrup on ice cream, baked beans and fried dough. Maple treats for sale: butter, cotton candy, lollipops, popcorn and more. Balloons and face painting. Pancake breakfast 8 a.m. to noon at Crescent Lake Community Hall. For more information, call 627-7362.

High Acres Maple Syrup at Oak Hill Farm, 14 Husky Haven off Tripptown Road, South Hiram. Demonstrations, free samples of maple syrup on ice cream, maple products. For more information, call 625-7151.

• Balsam Ridge Christmas Tree Farm, 140 Egypt Road, Raymond, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Pancake breakfast both days from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., tree-tapping demonstration at 11 a.m., beans and hot dogs at noon, taffy on snow at 1 p.m. Observe the process of maple syrup being made, sample maple syrup over ice cream, maple-coated peanuts, maple butter and maple cream, self-guided tours of sugar bush, snowshoe through their Christmas tree farm, and visit Ginger, a quarter horse cross-Arabian who just loves visitors.

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