Maine Maple Sunday is one of our favorite early spring events. Held during the fourth Sunday in March, farms throughout the state open their doors for the day. Our tradition is a visit to Jillson’s Farm & Sugarhouse in the small town of Sabattus. The family farm, owned by Pat and Ed Jillson, is known for their bountiful breakfasts, homemade jams and jellies, and delicious maple syrup.
Before touring the farm, we enjoy stacks of pancakes, sausage, giant squares of cornbread, baked beans and more homemade breakfast treats. We chat with friends and family, enjoying the warmth of the woodstove nearby. There’s a celebratory feeling in the air that can’t be denied.
When we can’t possibly eat anymore, we visit the Sugarhouse, where Ed Jillson explains the sugaring process. Steam rises from the evaporator as the sap collected from the trees boils down to maple syrup.
The kids also enjoy visiting the barn, where they can feed Greenfire, the Jillson’s sweet horse. The barn is also home to sheep, chickens and pigs. The kids call them over to the fence, and enjoy a gentle nuzzle or two from their farm friends.
One tip: if you’re planning to go to a Maine Maple Sunday event, get there early and dress in warm layers. The lines for breakfast can be long and are typically outdoors. Thankfully, there is a lot happening to keep families occupied. Taste samples of maple syrup and maple ice cream, and sugar on snow, where warm maple syrup is poured on shaved ice for a taffy-like treat — a delicacy in New England!
For a complete list of participating Maine Maple Sunday farms, visit the Maine Maple Syrup Producer Association here.