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March 22, 2024

Friday Food Insider: Maine sugarhouses are gearing up for Maple Sunday

File Photo / Jim Neuger Maine's maple syrup producers are gearing up for Maine Maple Sunday, which is on March 24 this year. Pictured, Morin's Sugar House in Limerick on Maine Maple Sunday 2018.

As we head into the weekend, sugarhouses around the state are gearing up for a busy Maine Maple Sunday. 

Hundreds of maple producers will showcase their products in the 41st Maple Maple Sunday weekend.

The event is an annual promotion in which Maine’s maple producers open the doors of their sugarhouses to the public, offering maple product samples and demonstrations on how Maine maple syrup is made. Farms offer games, activities, treats, sugarbush tours, music and more.

The maple syrup industry generates an estimated $55 million in annual economic activity and supports roughly 800 full- and part-time jobs across the state, according to an announcement from the office of Gov. Janet Mills.

Last year, Maine produced more 470,000 gallons of syrup, making it the country's third-largest producer behind Vermont and New York, according to based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Maine's production declined from 634,000 gallons in 2022; the top three producers all saw declines in 2022, and U.S. production was down 15% overall.

Weather effect

For many in the industry, this is the year's busiest weekend — but the forecast of winter weather could affect business for some sugar shacks.

“Weather makes a huge difference,” said Justin Wood, owner of SweetWoods Farm in Newcastle. "If it rains or storms, we tend to see less of a crowd, but it can get very busy. In the past, we have had around 1,500 to 2,000 people come. Families and customers are just happy to be out and about."

Like a lot of maple syrup producers, SweetWoods had a modest start.

"We are a small production, so we set up sales outside and bring families into the sugar house for a demonstration," Wood said. "I started tapping trees as a hobby and then it went out of control. I had never tapped a tree in my life, but I fell in love with it in college. There is a lot of work that goes into this. Get out there and support any and all sugarhouses.” 

Ben McKenney, co-owner of Grandpa Joe's Sugarhouse in East Baldwin, said, “Maple Sunday is very busy for us. Our first Maple Sunday was in 1992, when we had a small setup in our driveway. Before COVID, we would go through around 500 to 1,000 samples and have around 500 to 1,500 people come by. In the past, we have gone through around 75 to 100 gallons of maple syrup.” 

Some sugarhouses are offering events on both Saturday and Sunday. Check out the Maine Maple Producers Association for more information and a description of each sugarhouse, including hours and activities.

Do you have a favorite spot to visit on Maine Maple Sunday? The Mainebiz Food Insider wants to know! Contact Alexis Wells at

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