FARMINGTON — Space for more displays and educational demonstrations, along with more storage and a woodshed are the reasons for an addition to the Maine Maple Producers Association's sugarhouse at the fairgrounds.
As the sun began to set Sunday afternoon, volunteers Eric Ellis, Collin Neil and Bruce Tracy quickly swung hammers to finish the roof sheathing on the 15- by 32-foot addition. Metal will cover it so snow will slide off this winter, Ellis said.
While the Maine Maple Producers Association boasts about 180 members statewide, there's a core group of about 15 to 20 sugar-makers who are actively involved locally. Construction of the wooden sugarhouse pulled the local producers together, he said.
"It's been a good thing for us," he added.
Built next to the old Red Schoolhouse, the sugarhouse is a hive of activity during the annual September fair, but the group would like to extend some of those activities and provide more educational programs and demonstrations about maple sugar production throughout the year.
The group also plans to hold some meetings there. They already offer some fundraising pancake breakfasts for various groups meeting on the grounds during the year.
Lumber for the project was donated by members Ronald and Nancy LaRue of Mount Vernon. The couple own a sugarhouse and a sawmill and sawed all the wood used, he said.
Members have volunteered and worked on the addition at various times throughout the fall.
Ellis represents Maine Maple Products; Neil, Day Mountain Maple; Tracy, Maple Hill Farm; and LaRue, Sugarbrook Maple Farm.