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August 26, 2020

Maine maple producers to host October weekend to make up for lost season

File Photo / Jim Neuger Maine's maple producers will hold a nontraditional maple weekend in October this year, after March's Maine Maple Sunday was canceled. The weekend will align with the 14-day North American Maple Tour.

Maine Maple Sunday, traditionally held the fourth weekend of March at the height of maple syrup season, will be held in October, in conjunction with a new international event designed to promote production, the Maine Maple Producers Association has announced.

Maine Maple Sunday will take place Oct. 9-11, with new virtual elements and in-person events 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, a 14-day event that includes the promotion of maple products at events, breweries, distilleries and restaurants across the Northeast.

The Maine Maple Producers Association has said its producers have a goal of selling more than 10,000 gallons of maple syrup during the Northeast tour, which runs Oct. 9-18. More producers have started selling their products online since March, as well as offering pick-up options, according to the release.

The state's COVID-19 shutdowns began in March just as the short maple-producing season, from February to mid-April, was getting underway. Maine Maple Sunday, a weekend when many of the state's producers promote their wares and cultivate customers, was scheduled for March 21-22, but was largely canceled.

In 2019, more than 550 Maine maple businesses produced a total of 580,000 gallons of maple syrup, with a value of $21.6 million. The MMPA represents more than 240 licensed maple producers, ranging from small artisans to bulk syrup providers who serve major grocery store chains, food-service distributors and retailers. Members of the group support more than 560 full-time and part-time jobs that generate more than $17.3 million in wages.

"Based on guidelines from CDC and local government officials, we are prepared and excited to host Maine Maple Producers Weekend in October," said Scott Dunn, president of the Maine Maple Producers Association. "There is no doubt, the pandemic has hit our producers really hard.

"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."

The news of the October event comes a week after it was announced that maple syrup producers have become eligible for direct financial relief from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, a fund that was created through the federal CARES Act and is providing up to $16 billion in direct payments to farmers.

The virtual components of the October event will include a pure Maine maple recipe contest in which participants can 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 winners on Oct. 9 at the Cumberland Fair sugar house; the winners receive trophies and gift baskets. Contest entries must be received by noon Sept. 20, and contest rules are available at

"We see this contest as a way we can continue to promote the creative ways to use pure Maine maple," Dunn said. "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."

Information about the recipe contest and the producers participating in Maine Maple Producers Weekend can be found at

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