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Making Maple Syrup

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    Lyle Merrifield moves firewood onto a rack in the sugar house at his Gorham farm on Thursday. Merrifield said that the sap flow is tapering down but that he'll be collecting sap and boiling through this weekend.

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    Lyle Merrifield checks the temperature of sap boiling in an evaporator in his sugar house on Thursday.

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    Lyle Merrifield works in his sugar house in Gorham on Thursday where he has mounted a hand sanitizer dispenser on the entrance door. Maine Maple Sunday, held on March 22 this year, is postponed, but Merrifield is keeping his sugar house open every day until March 29, including this weekend, so that people can come in at their convenience to purchase maple syrup without being in a crowd of people.

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    Merrifield puts firewood in the stove that heats his evaporator at his sugar house in Gorham on March 3. Merrifield said he has had a fairly good season this year and estimates he has produced around 100 gallons of maple syrup.

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    Merrifield skims foam off of boiling sap in an evaporator.

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    Merrifield pours syrup into a container to check its density.

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    Jo-Ann Merrifield arranges bottles of maple syrup in her Gorham sugar house Thursday. The coronavirus outbreak has caused Maine Maple Sunday events, held on March 22 this year, to be canceled for the first time in its 37-year history. Merrifield and her husband Lyle are opening their sugar house every day until March 29 so that people can come in to purchase maple syrup without the usual crowd of people that typically attend Maine Maple Sunday.

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    Clark Cole checks the level of sap in a tank outside his sugar house in Dayton on March 4. With Maine Maple Sunday indefinitely postponed, Cole will be selling his syrup at Andy's Agway, which is located near his sugar shack.

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    Clark Cole, left, and Peter Warren fill a stove with firewood in Cole's sugar house in Dayton on March 4.

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    Clark Cole holds a small container of sap just before tasting it. In addition to checking the temperature of the sap to see if it's at the right density, Cole also taste tests it.

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    Clark Cole takes in a sky at dusk before returning inside his Dayton sugar house on March 4. Cole started sugaring in 1972 with his uncle and then built this sugar house in 1976.

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