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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. By day, she is an online content producer for mainetoday.com and the Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Things to do This week





Posted: March 18, 2014

More than syrup: A Maine Maple Sunday visitors guide

Written by: Susan Axelrod - staff writer - saxelrod@mainetoday.com

Hallmarks of Maine Maple Sunday. Press Herald file photos

On Maine Maple Sunday, March 23, nearly 90 of the state’s maple syrup producers will welcome visitors, opening the doors to steaming, sweetly scented operations ranging from tiny backyard sugar “shacks” to large commercial ventures. While a few of these are in far flung corners of the state, most are within a two-hour drive of Portland. But with such a huge number of choices, it can still be hard to decide just where to go. To help, we’ve made suggestions based on what there is to do and see in addition to tasting syrup and warming up next to the boiling sap — both of which are part of the scene at every stop. For a complete list of Maine Maple Sunday participants, with a handy map, see mainemapleproducers.com.

The sugarhouse at Megquier Farm. Press Herald file photo

Live music

Megquier Hill Farm
260 Megquier Hill Rd., Poland |207-998-5485
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Take a hay wagon ride down to the sugarhouse for a pancake breakfast, accompanied by bluegrass music by the Grassholes Band. The farm sells a big variety of maple products, including cotton candy, kettle corn and other treats.

Wine

Boothby’s Orchard & Farm
396 Boothby Rd., Livermore | 207-754-3500
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
What’s the perfect accompaniment to maple baked beans or corn chowder with maple bacon and biscuits? Boothby’s own apple wine, which comes in a complimentary glass and is, obviously, just for grown-ups.

An ostrich at Cooper’s in Windham. Press Herald file photo

Animals

Cooper’s Maple Products
81 Chute Rd. Windham | 207-892-7276
Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sunday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; pancake breakfast served until 2 p.m.
The Coopers raise miniature horses and currently have 28 of the little guys. You’ll also see peacocks, pheasants, beef cattle and ostriches.

Maple lunch menu

Balsam Ridge Christmas Tree Farm
140 Eygpt Rd., Raymond | 207-655-4474
Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
It doesn’t get any more maple-y than this: hot dogs steamed in maple syrup with a side of maple baked beans. For dessert: maple syrup on vanilla ice cream, of course.

Making maple syrup the old-fashioned way at Merrifield Farm. Press Herald file photo

Lots to see

Merrifield Farms
195 North Gorham Rd., Gorham | 207-892-5061
Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
From the giant black kettles of maple sap suspended from a log over a fire to blacksmithing and ox-pulling demos, there is plenty of history on display, making this an ideal stop for families with kids (or anyone else who is easily bored.) Among the many maple products for sale: maple soft serve ice cream.

With a French-Canadian accent

Cabane a Sucre Bergeron
321 Merrill Hill Rd., Hebron | 207-966-2654
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sugar on snow, aka maple taffy or “tire” in French, is a specialty of this small family operation, as are crepes, served to the sound of French-Canadian music.

Gluten-free

Velvet Hollow Sugar Works/Duham Farm
29 Dunham Rd., Greenwood | 207-665-2967
Sunday: Breakfast 8:30 – 11 a.m. Sugarhouse open until 3 p.m.
The blueberry pancakes served with maple syrup here are gluten-free, as are all of the other baked goods; the farm also operates a gluten-free bakery.

For more on Maine Maple Sunday, see Meredith Goad’s story in the Portland Press Herald


Beyond pancakes

What to do with the syrup you pick up on Maine Maple Sunday? You could pour it over pancakes, use it in cakes and cookies, or if you’re over 21, in these drinks:

Drink your maple syrup: Maine syrup season inspires cocktails


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