The Sweet Stuff

Sunday River’s own Maine Maple Syrup is a spring tradition.

Cool nights and warm days do more than produce perfect spring skiing and riding conditions—this weather mix also happens to be the recipe for success when producing Maine’s very own liquid gold otherwise known as Maine Maple Syrup!

As it so happens, Sunday River boasts an abundance of maple trees on its 11,000-acre property, which the resort taps into each spring to produce its very own Sunday River Maple Syrup.

maple-syrup-pancakes-1.jpg

Also on property is the Sunday River Sugaring House, located near the South Ridge base area on lower Broadway trail, where guests can witness demonstrations and sample free maple candy and syrup. Bottles of Sunday River Maple Syrup are available to purchase out of the Mountain Grocer and Sunday River Sports, and many of the resort’s restaurants feature this house made goodness on or in their signature dishes.

NL_SunRiv11_T6U0536

To collect sap Sunday River uses approximately 100 traditional metal buckets connected to a system of 950 taps and three miles of tubing near the resort’s Grand Summit Hotel. The resort must boil 40 to 50 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. Each tap on the mountain produces about one pint of maple syrup per season. The evaporator at the Sunday River Sugaring House can boil 85 gallons of sap off per hour.

Collected sap looks a lot like water and is boiled in a wood-fired “evaporator” inside of the Sugaring House. As the water boils off, the sap gets thicker and starts to gain color. The first syrup of the season tends to be the lightest in color and the most delicate in flavor. As sugaring season progresses, so too does the color and taste, indicated by a Grade A or Grade B rating on commercial labels.

bearded_sap_collector
Little has changed since the early days. Photo cred: NE Maple Museum

As the experts will tell you, the best “sugaring” weather is clear, with days above freezing and nights below freezing. When it’s below freezing at night and 40 degrees and sunny during the day, sap will literally pour out of the trees. On those days the Sugaring House is closed so that the resort can gather sap. A telltale sign that the Sugaring House is open is when the building is quite literally smoking—hence the hours of operation slogan, “When it’s steaming, we’re open!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: