Visitors to Dead Stream Alpaca & Maple Farm in Readfield walked out of the barn Sunday, their arms loaded with tubs of maple syrup, a celebration of Maine Maple Sunday Weekend.

Cyara Harriman, 14, who helps run the farm with her grandmother, Karen Dube, estimated that by 11 a.m., about 200 people had made their way down the farm’s muddy, winding driveway to taste the maple products that had been laid out for the event. 

Dube flipped pancakes in a skillet so visitors could later top them with maple syrup, or, as one visitor did, top the pancakes with ice cream and maple syrup.  

“I am overwhelmed,” Dube said. “It’s outstanding and warms my heart. I didn’t expect all of these people. It warms my heart, too, to see everyone come out and support a family-owned business.” 

Maine Maple Sunday Weekend is an annual event on the fourth Sunday in March. Sugarhouses across the state open their doors for visitors to see the maple syrup-making process and taste the final products.

In addition to maple syrup, Dead Stream Alpaca & Maple Farm at 67 Winthrop Road has six alpacas. Dube shears the alpacas and sends the fleece to Fall River, Massachusetts, to be made into products, including hats and mittens. Harriman said it was her idea to get the alpacas four years ago. 


The farm’s main product, however, is maple syrup, which is sold year-round.  

The farm, which has about 1,800 maple syrup taps, opened its sugarhouse for Maine Maple Sunday so visitors could see how syrup is produced. A family friend, Jeff Holman, helped explain the process that can take several hours to complete. 

Visitors can see the steam Sunday from machinery turning sap into maple syrup at Wilson Family Maple Syrup at 652 Benton Road in Albion. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

Similar discussions were underway at Wilson Family Maple Syrup in Albion, which has been open since 1990, according to Sherry Wilson.

With a setup smaller than Dead Stream, the Wilson family has 250 taps across about 260 acres. The Wilsons said they sell an average of 125 gallons of syrup a year, which seems especially impressive given it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup.

The Wilsons house their evaporator at 652 Benton Road, where visitors can see steam rise as the machine evaporates water from the sap to create syrup.

Visitors can also buy maple goods, many of which are baked at Hillman’s Bakery at 16 Western Ave. in nearby Fairfield. The farm has medium and dark amber syrups for sale, and occasionally a light syrup, too.


The darker the color, the less sweet the syrup, Sherry Wilson said. Those who make maple syrup, however, cannot control the color. That is determined by the sugar concentration in the sap.

Programs Manager Lauren Kircheis stirs a boiling pot of maple sap Saturday at the barn at Viles Arboretum at 153 Hospital St. in Augusta. Kircheis and another staff member, Harrison Lobb, collected and boiled sap to make syrup to be served on pancakes during Maine Maple Sunday Weekend. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Sunday’s cold and slushy morning did not stop Evelyn Carter and her husband, Troy, from introducing their granddaughter, Indiana, to the world of local sugar shacks. Carter bought a variety of products, including maple sugar, coffee and whoopie pies.

In Readfield, several visitors called Dead Stream Alpaca & Maple Farm’s maple syrup the best they had ever tasted.

Brian Maston ate ice cream on top of a pancake with maple syrup and “loved it.” He brought his daughter, Jamie Olson, and his partner, Naomi Burnell. They said they had never been to a Maine Maple Sunday event, but were compelled to try it — even if they are trying to eat healthier. 

“It’s great to support the family and the local economy,” Maston said.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.