By Courtney Fowler, Staff Reporter

Sunrise Maple Farm in Wilton (photo courtesy of Natalia Asis)

Sunrise Maple Farm in Wilton (photo courtesy of Natalia Asis)

On Sunday, March 22, the Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) is celebrating Maine Maple Sunday by touring students around four maple farms in the Farmington area. The cost is free and everyone is encouraged to attend.

“It’s important to get to know your state and what it has to offer,” said UMF Junior Christina Hallowell. As a lifelong resident of Maine, Hallowell has celebrated Maine Maple Sunday before, but is attending the FRC trip for her first time on Sunday.

This is the third year the FRC has hosted the Maine Maple Sunday trip. In the past, roughly twelve to fifteen students have attended, but they are hoping to see more take advantage of the opportunity.

“For me, maple syrup is such an American thing, something I would see in the movies,” said Natalia Dujovny, an Argentinian exchange student and Spanish language assistant. Dujovny went on the trip two years ago, but considers it one of her favorite things she’s done since coming to the United States.

“We went to three farms, each one being so different,” said Dujovny. “We got to look at the maple trees, see how to tap them, and watch sap run through the pipelines and funneled back to the house. I learned so much.”

The trip is aimed to inform students on how maple products are made and expose them to the small family farms in the area. “This fits right into the kind of trips we like to do,” said Jim Toner, FRC director and administrator of Mainely Outdoors. “It may not be the most active trip we’ve ever done, but we’re able to take advantage of resources right in our area.”

At many of the farms, students are able to try homemade maple products such as candies, syrup, and even ice cream. “When I came back from the trip, I had a sugar high!” said Dujovny. “To be honest, I had to take a nap.”

Last year, Hallowell celebrated Maine Maple Sunday with her friends, but cannot wait to go on the FRC trip. “It was cool to hear about the whole process of making syrup,” she said. “But I’m really hoping to be able to go to more farms this year.”

This informative and fun-filled trip will be student-led and last most of the morning. Along with the free samples, maple products will be for sale at many of the farms. “It should be a fun day,” said Toner. “Mainely Outdoors loves to provide students with the opportunity to get outside and learn new things.”

The trip will depart from the FRC at 9am on Sunday morning.  For more information or to sign up, contact Jim Toner at james.d.toner@maine.edu