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The forecast calls for warmer temperatures in the coming weeks, which means only one thing – fresh maple syrup (OK, and spring). Start thinking now about putting a visit to a local maple farm on the calendar. The best maple syrup really is an art form if you’ve never visited a shack before. It’s a little more than boring holes into the trunk of a maple, exuding some sap and standing over the steam as it boils. It’s an amazing process and a lot of hard work.
Soon it will be Maine Maple Sunday (March 23), a Maine tradition. Farms across the state hold open houses and allows the public to tour their shops. A behind the scenes look into a larger scale operation is interesting – trucks collecting sap, large boilers, and the stacks of firewood fueling the operation.
I always venture out to an old country road, find a farm, enjoy the melting snow and the fresh spring air. Syrup slowly drips into the metal buckets on every tree. Farmers explain tips and techniques and even a taste of final products. Always so good that you walk out with a few bottles for friends and family.
Here are a few farms in Southern Maine:
Harvest Hill Farm – Mechanic Falls
Coopers Maple Products – Windham
Hartwell Farm – Gorham