Business

Syrup producers to give Maine Maple Weekend a go this fall

AUGUSTA, Maine — Due to COVID-19, the Maine Maple Producers Association and its members postponed Maine Maple Sunday, traditionally held the fourth Sunday in March. The association announced Aug. 26 the event will take place in October.

Slated for Friday through Sunday, Oct. 9-11, the event features sugaring operations from around the state. According to the association, there will be new virtual elements and in-person experiences at a variety of sugar houses. The event will be held in conjunction with the new North American Maple Tour in the U.S. and Canada.

“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,” said Scott Dunn, president of the MMPA.

“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,” Dunn said. “October is also perfect timing to raise awareness about the health benefits of maple products.”

The association announced two virtual components for 2020, including a maple recipe contest. Participants will share their best recipes using pure Maine maple products in three categories, beverage, entrée and dessert. The association will vote to determine the top three recipes in each category. Celebrity judges will taste the recipes and announce the winner on Oct. 9 at the Cumberland Fair sugar house. The winners will receive a trophy and gift basket from the association. 

Contest entries must be received by Sept. 20, 2020 at 12 p.m. The contest rules are available at mainemapleproducers.com.

“We see this contest as a way we can continue to promote the creative ways to use pure Maine maple. With flu season coming, and as people closely monitor their health, especially related to COVID-19, using pure Maine maple syrup in food and beverages can help foster a healthy immune system. With important antioxidants and other vitamins, using pure Maine maple not only tastes great, it can help improve your overall health. We can’t wait to see the recipes,” said Dunn.

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.

The MMPA represents more than 240 members that are licensed maple producers. Producers range from small artisan producers to bulk syrup providers who serve major grocery store chains, food service distributors and retailers.

Maine Maple Producers Association members produce 580,000 gallons annually. Their business operations generate more than $21.6 million for the Maine economy. Members of the association also support more than 560 full-time and part-time jobs that generate more than $17.3 million in wages.

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