March 24, 2013

Mainers go with syrup's flow

Thousands of people around the state visit sugarhouses to see production of maple treats and taste the results.

By Beth Quimby
Staff Writer

NEWFIELD - It was total gridlock Sunday morning on Elm Street, a normally quiet back road in this small town at the northern tip of York County.

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Persephone Karecki 3, of Newfield takes a bite of a pancake soaked in maple syrup while visiting Hilltop Boilers in Newfield on Maine Maple Sunday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Visitors make their way from the sap house as a maple bucket collects sap on a tree at Hilltop Boilers in Newfield on Sunday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Hundreds of people were descending on Hilltop Boilers to celebrate the 30th annual Maine Maple Sunday and by 10 a.m. it was almost impossible to get through. The farm, which was also open Saturday, expected over 4,000 visitors for the weekend, more than double Newfield's population.

"It's a good year for maple syrup and it's been a good year for Maple Sunday," said Mark Bryant, who runs the syrup operation with his brother Michael.

Last year's season ended early in most parts of New England because of unusually warm weather, but a string of warm days and cold nights has kept the sap flowing this year.

Hilltop Boilers, which has been participating in Maple Sunday since the 1980s, was one of 68 Maine sugarhouses taking part this year.

About 20 family members and friends helped organize activities, including a sap-lugging race, a pancake breakfast and a live band. There was also a guess-the-pig's-weight contest and name-the-7-day-old-bull-calf contest. Winners took home maple syrup.

In the cow barn, Brian Jones of Dayton helped his daughter Dylan, 7, fill out an entry form for the calf-naming contest.

"Oreo, because he is black and white," Dylan said.

Business was brisk at the pancake griddle where Terry Orr of North Waterboro expected to go through three gallons of pancake batter on Sunday morning.

Jeanne Boissonneault of Dayton bought two half-gallons of syrup, 12 maple whoopie pies and some maple fudge.

"And we will run out before this time next year," she said.

Maine was tied with New York as the second-most maple syrup-producing state in the country in 2012, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. Vermont was the top producer with 750,000 gallons.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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File photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette


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