By Pam Harnden, Staff Writer
REGION — Sunday is the 34th Annual Maine Maple Sunday with several area sap houses open for tours and tastings.
Maine Maple Sunday is a registered program with the Maine Maple Producers Association (MMPA). It began as a way to educate the public about the state’s maple syrup industry and identify MMPA members for consumers looking to purchase syrup and other maple products. Maine Maple Sunday is always the 4th Sunday in March.
Warm days and cold nights are needed for sap to run.
Sunday morning for a fee, the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore will be serving a hearty breakfast of pancakes and sausage drizzled with maple syrup.
After eating in the historic farmer’s cottage, take part in one or more of the activities planned. Visit the sap house, help tap trees and collect sap, go for a walk on your snowshoes through the wooded trails or fields, or visit the schoolhouse to experience the three “R”s – reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Black Acres Farm in Wilton will not be participating this year.
Long Drive Acres Maple Farm, also in Wilton, will not officially be open. However, David Leavitt said people can stop in and see how construction is going on the new post and beam sap house. Originally 16 by 24 feet, the new one will be 20 by 54 feet. He has purchased a new 3 by 12 foot wood fired evaporator.
Leavitt said he will have syrup, maple cream and other products available to purchase.
Last week Rodney Hall of Hall Farm Maple Products in Wilton said he made syrup the earliest ever this year. There were good, big runs in early February but nothing since March 2. A good percentage of his syrup has always been boiled in the last week of March and the first week of April.
“No one would be concerned about the weather if we weren’t watching the calendar for Maine Maple Sunday,” Hall said. “I’m concerned with changing weather patterns. It could quickly go from 45 degrees to 75 degrees.”
Jim Harvell of Mystic Valley Maples, Wilton, used snowshoes to tap this year. After the second large storm, even with them, the snow was up to his knees. He had to stop until the snow packed down.
“Some years we’re done by Maine Maple Sunday, other years we haven’t started yet,” Harvell said. “As soon as the sap starts running again, we’ll start boiling.”
(Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)
Betsy Mancine of Sunrise Maple Farm, Wilton, said it has been a strange year, but it is looking a bit better. It was warm early, but got too warm. Then it got too cold. It’s looking a bit better.
Mancine said sugar bush tours will be given. Children wearing mud boots and ski pants can play outside.
“We’ll be boiling and bottling fresh so people can buy warm syrup,” Mancine said.
Tony Couture, Maple Valley Farms Inc, Jay, made 156 gallons of syrup before the cold and snow brought things to a standstill and shut things down. Fall rains put moisture in the ground to lessen drought concerns. Sap flowed good when it did run.
“The season is about the same as last year. It’s another up and down year, but the trees seem to be handling it okay. We’ll definitely be going into April,” Couture said.
Collin Neil, Day Mountain Maple in Strong said, “If the trees are to leaf out, eventually the sap has to run. We just need to be ready when it does.”
Neil has also seen a delay due to snow and cold this year. He made syrup early, but there has been two weeks with no production.
Bruce Tracy, Maple Hill Farm, Farmington, said the weather has been a roller coaster, making it challenging. Sap has only run a little over the last three weeks and won’t run again until it warms up.
“Sap started running late last year. The teaser in February was needed to knock the snowbanks down,” Tracy said.
Bowley Brook Maple, 91 Masterman Rd. in Weld, will be open Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 207-578-0411 or email email@example.com.
Day Mountain Maple, 399 Farmington Rd. in Strong, will be open Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 207-778-2716 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hall Farms Maple Products, 989 U.S. Route 2 in Wilton, Breakfast (for a fee) will be open Sunday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The sugar house will be open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 207-645-2862 or email email@example.com.
Jackson Mountain Farm, 8 Jenkins Rd. in Temple, will be open Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 207-846-4570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long Drive Acres Maple Farm, 319 Temple Rd. in Wilton, is not officially open, but will accept visitors Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 207-778-9618 or email email@example.com.
Maple Hill Farm, 390 Titcomb Hill Rd. in Farmington, will be open Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 207-778-4506.
Maple Valley Farm Inc, 1304 Franklin Rd. in Jay, will be open Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 207-6445-2328 or 9549 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mystic Valley Maples, 770 US RT 2-West in Wilton, will be open Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call 207-645-4481 or email email@example.com.
Plaisted Farm Maple Products, 132 Borough Rd. in Jay, will be open Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call 207-758-0713 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunrise Maple Farm, 5 More Acres Rd. in Wilton, Breakfast (for a fee) will be open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The sap house will be open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 207-578-4423.
Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, 290 Norlands Rd. in Livermore, will be open Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, call 207-897-4366 or email email@example.com.
Jillson’s Sugarhouse in Sabattus will be open Sunday. Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, Russell Farm in Poland and West Minot Sugar House in Minot will be open Saturday and Sunday.
For more information about sap houses participating this year, visit http://mainemapleproducers.com/about-maine-maple-sunday/. Please note several of the farms above are not included on this website.