WHITEFIELD — For the first time, Chase Farm Bakery and several members of the Chase family joined in on the Maine Maple Sunday Weekend festivities despite Saturday’s snow.

A machine flips maple donuts while they cook Saturday during the Maine Maple Sunday Weekend event at Chase Farm in Whitefield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

At the farm, they boil sap in a homemade evaporator made by Pat Chase from recycled farm equipment parts inside a sugar shack, which is constructed of lumber from trees from the surrounding woods and milled on site.

During festivities, they served up pancakes grilled inside a large barn, which was also built with lumber cut and milled from the surrounding 100-acre farmland. There were hot, tasty maple doughnuts, made with a fryer set up in the bakery inside the former milking barn that had been in operation there for nearly 50 years.

“It’s not like I needed something else to do, but we try to be self-sufficient on the farm, and it takes a lot of little projects to keep up with taxes and upkeep and everything else,” Pat Chase said after stoking the maple sap evaporator with some of the 40 cords of wood he cuts annually.

His wife, Robin Chase, standing inside the bakery frying doughnuts and greeting visitors who braved the snowy conditions, said that adding the maple sugaring operation is just another way for the farm to get by. Joining wood-cutting operations and the bakery hopefully, she said, will build a lasting legacy for their family.

“We’ve got this big farm and four (now adult) kids and have worked to build this place to what it is, and look out for our kids later on,” said Robin Chase. “This was another piece to add to the pot, a legacy you can pass on to the kids and grandkids.”


Many of those “kids” were on hand Saturday, including Isaiah Chase on the grill flipping pancakes for guests to have with the syrup made from sap collected from some 200 maple trees on the property.

Kadi and John Skroski came up from Phippsburg to check out the farm and have some of the pancakes with real maple syrup.

Kadi Skroski said the farm visit brought back memories of collecting sap with her childhood friend, using a team of Clydesdale horses. John said it reminded him of his grandfather’s farm. The couple said they try to go to a different farm every Maine Maple Sunday Weekend. They both said the Chase Farm’s syrup was delicious and they like to support local businesses.

“I grew up on it, we never had the fake stuff in the house,” Kadi Skroski said of real maple syrup.

Will and Donna Gemelli came down from Jay.

Will Gemelli said he used to work for the Chases and always tries to make it when they have special events. He said it’s good to see the family he knew when they were kids. Now the Chase “kids” have their own kids, with grandchildren including Saunders, Maks, Leonidas and Branch, all on hand Saturday.


Branch, 2, took a break from playing outside to check out his grandfather’s evaporator in the sugar shack. His mom, MacKenzie Chase, held him up so he could look down into the pans of thickening sap.

Pat Chase said the sap run this year was not good, and its sugar content was down. However, they did manage to put up 210 pint jars of syrup in preparation for the weekend. Pat said they don’t like plastic and put their syrup in glass mason jars, so customers can see the product.

He said that another experienced maple syrup producer said the sugar content was so low in his sap this year it took 65 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup, well over the typical 40 gallons needed.

With the snow expected to subside by Sunday, Chase Farm Bakery plans to have live music, craft vendors and family activities, in addition to the syrupy and sweet attractions, Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Branch Chase, 2, left, looks at the boiling sap Saturday while his mother, Mackenzie Chase, holds him up to look into the evaporator during the Maine Maple Sunday Weekend event at Chase Farm in Whitefield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal


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