MAINE, USA — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maine Maple Producers Association (MMPA) and its members postponed Maine Maple Sunday, traditionally held the fourth Sunday in March.
The association instead announced Maine Maple Weekend, which will take place October 9-11. If you're a fan of maple, you'll want to find a farm! And if you don't want to go out, you can still find maple items online through the event!
Per usual, there will be in-person experiences at a variety of sugar houses. This year, there will also be new virtual elements as part of the event, including a Maine maple recipe contest. Entries had to have been received by September 20 and the winner will be announced Oct. 9 at the Cumberland Fair sugar house.
During the pandemic and to provide an additional virtual experience, producers have started selling their products online. Several producers also now offer new pick-up options. With the new purchasing options, producers have set a goal to sell more than 10,000 gallons of maple syrup products during the North American Maple Tour from Oct. 9-18. The new 14-day tour includes the promotion of maple products at events, breweries, distilleries and restaurants across the Northeast.
"Based on guidelines from CDC and local government officials, we are prepared and excited to host Maine Maple Producers Weekend in October. There is no doubt, the pandemic has hit our producers really hard," MMPA President Scott Dunn said. "While the weekend of activities might look and feel a little different, we are confident we can provide the opportunity for people to safely celebrate pure Maine maple and support local producers. October is also perfect timing to raise awareness about the health benefits of maple products. Information about our recipe contest and the producers participating in Maine Maple Producers Weekend can be found at mainemapleproducers.com."
The MMPA represents more than 240 members that are licensed maple producers. A map of participating farms can be found HERE. Producers range from small artisan producers to bulk syrup providers who serve major grocery store chains, foodservice distributors and retailers.
According to the MMPA, its members:
- produce 580,000 gallons annually
- generate more than $21.6 million for the Maine economy
- support more than 560 full-time and part-time jobs that generate more than $17.3 million in wages
Other farms that are not part of the MMPA are likely hosting events this weekend as well, so be sure to reach out to your town and give farms near you a call to see if they're doing anything.