Sunday was Maple Sunday in Maine. This event is held on the fourth Sunday of March every year. Many sugarhouses across the state are open for visitors.
We stopped by Balsam Ridge Christmas Tree Farm, which is only a few miles from out Maine cottage, in Raymond. In the winter, they have Christmas trees. In the spring, they make maple syrup from their sugarbush. It’s a small operation, but it’s very high tech. We watched a demonstration of the evaporator but they stopped collecting sap last week, so it was just pretend. The owner explained about the various steps and technology he uses.
With the climate change we’ve been experiencing, the sap runs earlier, and before the trees bud (which happens earlier and earlier), the taps get turned off. The introduction of technology helps maple syrup producers get the most out of their maples. From the vacuum system which allows more sap to be collected than gravity alone allows, to the reverse osmosis to reduce the water content of the sap before it gets boiled, to the evaporator that boils the syrup until the density is correct.
We enjoyed the samples of maple cotton candy, maple cream, maple butter, and, best of all, maple syrup over vanilla ice cream. We brought home a half gallon of maple syrup and couple pieces of maple fudge.
I like maple flavor, however, I don’t actually like syrup on my pancakes (I’m a jam girl). Howard does, but I do need to come up with some new ideas for using our treasure trove of maple syrup.