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Maple Sap in Maine is Off and Running Amid Annual Celebration

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press/file
Gravity feed tubes deliver sap to a holding tank at a farm in Gorham, Maine, in March 2016.

BANGOR, Maine - Maine's maple industry seems to be off to a decent start, with no significant problems foreseen, as the state prepares to celebrate its 34th annual Maine Maple Sunday.

"Last year, you know, the season had  675,000 gallons, and that's up from 315,000 gallons in 2010," says Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry spokesman John Bott.

Bott says the trend for the last six years has been one of steadily increasing effort across Maine, with the number of taps increasing by 26 percent over the period.

Bott says he thinks maple has steadily gained a reputation for being a natural and sustainable product that conscious consumers can feel good about using.

"And now you're starting to see the emergence of other products beyond maple syrup and maple candy," he says. "There's been some talk of maple water, barrel aged maple..."

The industry is heavily weather dependent and relies on cold nights and warmish spring days to get sap flowing.

This weekend, 85 sugarhouses from Wells to Eagle Lake will be open to visitors Sunday, with many also opening on Saturday. According to state officials, initial reports from sugar makers indicate that this season's sap is higher in sugar than last year.

Maine's maple industry directly contributed about $27.7 million to the state's economy last year, and more than $48 million overall, including support industries.