Portland, Maine – The first sign of spring in Maine is NOT daffodils… it’s sap. Taps and buckets start appearing on maple trees everywhere. And then steam rises from the wood fired sugar houses.
And the best part of all… these amazing smelling sugar shacks open their doors to the public to celebrate the sap flow. They call it Maine Maple Sunday, the 4th Sunday in March. A map shows you which producers are welcoming maple fans.
It’s a great chance to teach the kiddos about the whole process and to learn a thing or two myself. Factoids like… it takes 40 gallons of sap to yield one gallon of syrup.
Most farms offer tours of their barns, a chance for your children to meet farm animals. Some producers offer carriage or sleigh rides. And all of the participating farms offer a maple syrup tasting, usually on pancakes.
If you want to give your children a hand’s on experience with maple syrup making, Pineland Farms offers a children’s sugaring program. Click here for more information.
No where near a sap producing maple and still want to learn more? Curious George can help. PBS offers an entire episode (Maple Monkey Madness) on the process of boiling down sap into syrup. There is a book to match.
13 months into my Maine life, I can tell you maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes. It’s a teaspoon in your morning coffee. It’s a drizzle atop crostini with arugula, pear, and a young pecorino. It’s a dollop on bacon wrapped scallops just before you slide them into the oven. It’s everywhere. And this coming weekend, you can buy it in bulk.
In the Maine, sap is flowing. Spring is here. Thank God.
Toddler Take-Away and Preschool Perks
- Exploring the world
- Science and Nature Fun
- Kitchen Science
- Connecting food to environment
- Old Fashioned Fresh Air