The history of maple sugaring and production in Maine goes back far before the Pilgrims had landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Native Americans had been making sugar from the sweet sap of maple trees for many years. Up until the 15th century when sugar cane was brought to the Americas, maple sugar was the primary form of sugar in the United States. Now, pure maple syrup is thought of as a delicacy. In Maine, Maine Maple Sunday is a day for sweet tooth fanatics to enjoy an organic and preservative-free option while supporting small and local businesses.
Maple Sunday is held annually on the fourth Sunday of March. Kiera Greene’s family lives in Sebago, Maine. Her family is quite familiar with what it takes to get ready for such an exciting annual event. “We start by tapping trees as soon as the weather cooperates,” she explained. “The nights have to be below freezing and the days have to be above freezing for sap to run.” Greene’s family owns and operates Greene Maple Farm. The farm was founded in 1969 by Ted and Loretta Greene. “I have been helping out with Maine Maple Sunday ever since I could walk,” she said. “I’ve had the same tree that I’ve tapped ever since I was two-years-old.”
The process of getting the maple sap from the tree to the bottle and to a maple lover is a lengthy one. “Making maple syrup is quite long,” Greene said. “You have to have enough sap to boil and once that has boiled, you put it through filters and put it in the finish pan, where it will be packaged once it is ready.” Then you have to consider the number of taps. “Last year, Greene Maple Farm had around 971 taps,” she said. “But this year we’ve surpassed 1,000.”