Sucrerie serves up Acadian culture at UMFK

FORT KENT, Maine — The annual University of Maine at Fort Kent Sucrerie served up a sweet lesson in local culture for students who attended the event on Thursday, March 22.

‘Sucreries,’ translated from French to English simply means “sweets.” This year, Northwoods Nectar of Eagle Lake sponsored a free traditional maple taffy on the snow, which students and community members came out by the hundreds to enjoy.

Sodexo employee and University of Maine at Fort Kent student Mather Forshay slices baked honey ham for guests during the annual UMFK Sucrerie on Thursday, March 22. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

The sucrerie occurs when makers of maple syrup start tapping sugar maple trees to harvest the delicious nectar during the beginning of the spring season. Acadians, who cherish their land and take pride in their independence, have long tapped maple trees to provide sustenance and joy to their families.

“The maple syrup that was made in the snow was actually really good, and something that I had never tried before today,” said Destiny Ray, a UMFK sophomore nursing student from Milo.

Students also enjoyed other traditional Acadian foods such as ployes (buckwheat pancakes) which Janice Bouchard of Bouchard Family Farms cooked at the event with the assistance of Acadian Valley resident Don Raymond.

Sodexo, the campus food service, prepared honey baked ham, chicken stew, creton, mashed turnips and carrots, homemade bread, green beans, potato fricassee and desserts, including apple pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie, and sugar pie

Waitresses gathered up plates dressed in Acadian attire which the Acadian Festival Committee provided. Warren and Joan Harvey performed live music.

Northwoods Nectar of Eagle Lake provided free maple taffy on the snow to guests of the annual University of Maine at Fort Kent Sucrerie on Thursday, March 22. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

“I thought it was really interesting to see the culture exhibited by the foods, live music, and dress attire. I enjoyed that there was a chance to sit with people I’ve never met before, because I was able to experience new conversations and get to know others,” said Ray. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend because it was quite nice seeing the community getting together, and I really enjoyed watching people sing and dance.”

Ray’s classmate, Emily Austin, a sophomore nursing student from Brunswick said she enjoyed her first Sucrerie experience at UMFK.

“It was something I had never tried before so it is nice that UMFK offers new experiences to their students,” she said. “It was really interesting hearing the music, eating different foods, and talking to different people.”

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