From 40 gallons to 1 in a day? Well, not quite, but we tried anyway.

Last weekend, we went to a friend’s wonderful “Boil and Boil” party. Indoors, we boiled lots of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, and outside, we boiled their latest harvest of maple sap. Kids ran around in snow gear building forts and zipping downhill, periodically checking in with the two boiling stations to warm up indoors by the wood stove or outside by the wood-fired evaporator.

It was an iconic Maine afternoon with blazing sunshine on bright snow, good food, and friends.

Sound like an experience you’d like to have? You’ll have an opportunity this Sunday at several farms nearby to take part in very similar scenes. This Sunday is Maine Maple Sunday, an annual statewide event that celebrates the running of the sap. It is always the fourth Sunday of March.

Every year, farms invite the public to visit their sugaring operations to see just how this strange clear liquid that flows from the hearts of maple trees turns into the golden sweet elixir we pour on our pancakes (or over ice cream, fresh snow, or just straight). It is amazing to see the boiling operations that can take 40 gallons of sap and cook it down to make 1 gallon of syrup.

Last year, I learned to appreciate the value of that $16 quart of syrup I buy at the grocery store after tapping a handful of trees in our backyard. We discovered that we had six sugar maples in our postage-stamp sized yard and didn’t get to tapping them until early March, but figured we’d go for it anyway.

A quick trip to Brooks Farm and Feed in Brunswick to pick up buckets and spiles (taps you push into the trees) and a bit of rooting around for the right drill bit and we were off an running, so to speak.

The sap starting running right away and we were quickly scrambling for more vessels around the basement to empty our collected sap into. Piece of cake, right? You’ll have to ask my husband about that, as he tended our pot of boiling sap nearly all day over our outdoor propane cooker.

After nearly a full tank of propane and half a day of stirring and skimming, we ended up with one lonely little quart of syrup. It was a great experiment and one we will certainly repeat. But, this year we opted to enjoy the experience at our friends’ house instead.

Maine Maple Sunday is put on by the Maine Maple Producers Association, which has a great website with a map of all the participating farms. There are too many too mention here, but I’ll mention a couple. Goranson’s Farm in Dresden ( puts on a neat old-timey event. They have a barn with farm animals, tours of their sugar house and, of course, maple sundaes. There’s nothing like tasting fresh, warm syrup over ice cream.

Merrifield Farm in Gorham ( also puts on an extensive event with ox cart rides and blacksmith demonstrations, as well as tours of their 1900s icehouse. I haven’t been there yet, but may check it out this year.

Our friends didn’t finish their boil in one day after all, but it was a great celebration of the coming of spring and the fact that the days are now getting long enough and warm enough for the sap to flow.

Although it’s not likely to feel exactly spring-like this weekend, you can enjoy the rare combination of winter and spring mixed together in fresh maple syrup over a scoop of snow or ice cream by visiting a local farm this Maine Maple Sunday.