Sunday, March 24, 2013

Maine Maple Sunday 2013

The sap started flowing late this year, and we had good weather on Maine Maple Sunday. That means there wasn't a whole lot of maple syrup to go around, and places with big crowds ran out of syrup! Luckily, we got up early and went out of the way to those less-traveled sugar shacks, and followed them up with some tried and true favorites. Here's the run-down.

  1. We started at Norlands, a living museum in Livermore, where volunteers dress up in period clothing and teach you how hard it was to live in Maine in the 19th century. Today we skipped the lesson and opted for a pancake breakfast (delicious!) and a walk down the hill to their sugar shack. They don't sell their own syrup, however, so we just had a little chat and then moved on.
  2. Just down the street in Livermore is Boothby's, which is primarily an apple farm, but they have a small boiler in a trailer. They also make pottery from local clay. They grow honeycrisp apples, and are going on the list of apple farms for the fall.
  3. A little farther south in Hebron is the Cabane a Sucre Bergeron, a Franco-American family-run operation. They have a beautiful sugar house and a separate barn where they served us crepes and sausage. I bought a quart of syrup here. Outside someone taught us to make maple taffy: boil the syrup to 250 °F, then pour onto packed snow circles about the size of a half dollar coin. Let cool, then pick up using a tongue depressor. Eat. Repeat. Amazing.
  4. Next in Poland was the Russell farm, which we had visited for the first time last year, and remembered their maple french toast. We returned to find their sugar house almost complete, with the boiler inside and another generous spread of maple products for sale. We had our long-awaited french toast and bought some other goodies (another quart, some maple-covered peanuts, and maple bread), then headed out. Their parking was limited, not enough to accomodate the visitors.
  5. Then in Casco we visited Sweet William's, because I remembered they had excellent maple fudge. Apparently other people remembered that because I got the last two pieces. They also had the best price on syrup by the gallon, and they were giving away syrup on ice cream.
  6. Our last stop was good old Grampa Joe's in North Baldwin. By the time we got there (just before 3pm), they had stopped cooking, but still had a few sausages warm, and they told us to just take what we wanted. And we wanted those sausages. My mouth is watering just thinking about it now. I also picked up some more maple-covered nuts and maple jelly beans there.

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