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Sugarhouses 'slammed' on Maine Maple Sunday

By Carolyn Zachary | Mar 25, 2019
Photo by: Carolyn Zachary At Beaver Hill Plantation in Freedom, Jason Wade shows a vat of syrup to Una Richardson, 8, left, and Peyton Stinson, 7, both of Ellsworth, on Maine Maple Sunday. At left is the farm's brand new 3.5-by-14-foot CDL evaporator, installed this year to accommodate growth plans.

Success was sweet on Sunday.

At Beaver Hill Plantation in Freedom, more visitors showed up by early afternoon than over the entire "Maple Weekend" last year.

"We got slammed this morning," said Erin Wade, one of the owners, "and we ran out of ice cream" before mid-afternoon. "We had more ice cream than ever before — and more people than ever before!"

At mid-day outside Simmons & Daughters in Morrill, parked cars — on both sides of the road in some sections — stretched a half-mile along Weymouth Road and up Morey Hill Road as well. People in long lines waited outside the sugarhouse and tents to see the operation, taste samples and buy products, including lunch.

At Back Ridge Sugar House in Winterport, owner Josh Knipping reported 816 visitors by 2:30 p.m. Sunday. "Last year we had 883 over the whole weekend," he said.

Kinney's in Knox was no exception; all day long, visitors swarmed the sugarhouse as Lee Kinney and his team produced seven 40-gallon barrels of syrup (plus five the day before). "It was a late start — but a good start — this year," he said.

 

 

 

People of all ages crowded into sugarhouses for Maine Maple Sunday. Here, Josh Knipping of Back Ridge Sugar House in Winterport demonstrates how syrup is made. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Caleb Farris fills cups with maple popcorn to give away at Back Ridge Sugar House in Winterport March 24. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Olivia Fritz of Morrill, left, and Jocelyn Valleau of Searsmont, enterprising scouts from Girl School Troop 1986, take a break from working the crowd with cookie samples at Simmons & Daughters Sugar House on Maine Maple Sunday. Behind them are cartons of cookies for sale. Other young entrepreneurs were selling Girl Scout cookies in the parking area at Freedom General Store. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Krista Staples of Morrill braved a long line of people, standing in mud, to get this maple hotdog at Simmons & Daughters Sugar House March 24. As with many food stands at area sugarhouses, this one ran out by early afternoon. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Drew Hauser of Brooks and his team of Suffolk Punches take visitors on a loop through the maple orchard at Beaver Hill Plantation March 24. Beaver Hill also treated visitors to vanilla ice cream with maple syrup and maple syrup-laced baked beans. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Sap races through pipes from 9,000 of Lee Kinney's 10,600 taps on his Knox farm. Kinney, pictured, says he hauls sap from the other 1,600 taps. The Kinney sugarbush is about a third red maples, which, he said, produce the sweetest sap. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
MaryAnne Kinney, left, tells a visitor about the reverse osmosis system that removes water from sap as it flows into the sugarhouse, distilling it from 2 percent sugar to 18 percent in the resulting concentrate. Kinney said it was standing room only in their sugarhouse most of the day March 24. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Vehicles were parked for a half-mile along Weymouth Road in Morrill while families visited Simmons & Daughters Sugar House March 24. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Undeterred by mud underfoot, visitors wait to view, sample and buy maple products at Simmons & Daughters Sugar House March 24. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Back Ridge Sugar House in Winterport on Maine Maple Sunday March 24. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Josh Knipping of Back Ridge Sugar House in Winterport takes a question from a visitor March 24. Knipping is considering producing bourbon-aged maple syrup next year, using seasoned bourbon casks. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Late Sunday afternoon, Lee Kinney cleans niter (sugar sand) from his sugarhouse evaporator. Niter consists of minerals in the sap that bond to the steel evaporator, and it must be removed regularly. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Una Richardson, 8, and Peyton Stinson, 7, of Ellsworth, with Jason Wade of Beaver Hill Plantation in Freedom March 24. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
Jason Wade of Beaver Hill Plantation, pictured with visitors Una Richardson, 8, left; Abby Goff, 7 1/2, and Peyton Stinson, 7 (back to camera). The children live in Ellsworth. (Photo by: Carolyn Zachary)
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