Sam Thibeault fills bottles with maple syrup in preparation for the weekend. Andrew Thibeault photo

Maine is the third-largest producer of maple syrup in the country, and this weekend marks the ultimate celebration as local sugar shack owners open their doors for tastings and tutorials during Maine Maple Sugar Sunday weekend March 25-26.

Red Door Sugar Shack in Topsham, 24 Shellenbarger Road, will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, including a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon both days. Owner Andrew Thibeault said guests will have a chance to see sap-boiling demonstrations, pet some friendly goats and eat a variety of maple-flavored treats.

“We will have maple cotton candy, maple popcorn, maple syrup, soft maple candy and maple fudge from Sweet Satisfaction Fudge,” Thibeault said. “New this year we will be selling trays with mini pancakes and a cup of syrup for easy dipping.”

Thibeault said he has been making maple syrup since he was a kid but turned his hobby into a business when he and his wife opened Red Door Sugar Shack in 2012. He said each year the number of guests for Maple Sugar Sunday doubles at his farm. After serving 2,000 patrons last year, he said he hopes the possible snowy forecast this weekend won’t deter guests from coming out.

News Center Maine reported a light dusting of snow along the coast beginning Saturday afternoon and continuing into early Sunday morning, while areas farther inland may experience 1-3 inches total.

Where does maple syrup come from?

There are several steps and a laborious process to turn tree sap into syrup. Maple syrup farmers collect buckets of tree sap from late-February to mid-April around the clock, which must be processed within a few hours or it will spoil. The farmers must boil the sap until it reaches 216 degrees Fahrenheit and strain it through a cloth before bottling it, according to

Although the typical, large maple tree pours out 60 gallons of sap a year, Thibeault said it roughly takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

For more information, visit Red Door Sugar Shack on Facebook.

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