Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Maine Maple Syrup Season

My grandfather used to collect sap on the farm and make maple syrup.  Since he passed away, and since my brother Ed and his wife Sarah took over the farm, they have taken charge of the sap-collecting in what is now our neighborhood.  The old sap house still stands at the bottom of our hill, and our community of siblings and cousins still all take part in celebrating spring by hanging around the sap house on what is now known to be "Redneck Saturday."  I think Ed and Sarah decided to formally name their not-so-formal celebration day in lieu of what is more popularly known to be Maple Syrup Weekend in New England.  Our little festival entails gathering around the sap house, bringing the kids along on the 4-wheeler to collect sap, taking turns putting wood in the fire, and having a beer or two.  It's a terrific family and friends event, and everyone goes home with syrup.  The boiling continues beyond Redneck Saturday of course, and you can pick up your own Anderson Farms syrup at their farm stands in the summer.

Gathering sap on the back of "The Flame," Ed's 4-wheeler, is a highlight of the day for our kids. 
The Sap House:  Where the Magic Happens

Ed and I watching the sap boil.  He's probably actually doing something productive while I stand there and get warm.
This really is what it looks like in the house when sap's-a-boiling.  And it smells SO good.
Ed filtering sap from the boiling pans.
We miss you, Uncle Brian.  Don't worry-- the boiling continues!
Sam takes his dad's seat in the sap house.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March at the Market

It doesn't seem to be getting any warmer outside, but things are heating up quite a bit at this winter's first-ever Biddeford Winter Farmers Market.  This week, we had a full house with 15 vendors reaching around the Pepperell Mill, also a make-shift museum of old mill photos, tools, and other items.  The locals still seem to be loving the Saturday morning event, we're getting to know some "regulars," and as vendors, we're having a good time too.   Here's just a bit of what you'll see if you decide to make your way to the market next weekend.

 Everyone loves local greens and other veggies, even mid-winter.  Sunset Farm Organics.

Have you ever seen such a beautiful stool?  Lovely people too.  
When this customer left her jars of jam at the market by accident, we set them aside with a note that said "The Mayor" since we couldn't decide in the cold moment whether there was an "e" in Twomey.  Thanks for the business, Mrs. Mayor!  Note Chef Gilley and Lisa trying to keep their table stocked with their awesome Zucchini Relish and her jewelry.  They've been wonderfully helpful to me as a new vendor as well!

What a great time of year to market Alpaca socks and mittens!

Buck's Nuts.  Need I say more? 

I look forward to moving a bit farther away from my own table to get some shots of more vendors.  These photos do not give due credit to the incredible dairy, meat, and other local artisan vendors who've been to the Biddeford market this winter.  More to come!