If you love the rich, distinctive taste of real maple syrup, then make your way to Maine during this spring’s maple harvest season celebration.
The Maine Maple Producers Association hosts the 39th annual Maine Maple Sunday Weekend on Sunday and Saturday, March 26-27, 2022, and it’s the ultimate time for maple lovers to go straight to the source to learn about, taste and shop for all things maple. More than 100 participating sugarhouses across the state invite the public to participate in sugarbush tours, to witness syrup making, to learn about the sap-to-syrup process and to taste the freshest maple products. Many also offer games, live music and sweet treats. While the fourth Sunday in March is traditionally the date for this annual celebration, the event has been expanded, and many maple sugarhouses have activities planned all weekend long.
For example, at Cobbs Hill Sugarhouse in Mount Vernon, Maine, your walk down a 100-yard entry road that’s likely to be sloppy or icy is rewarded with free ice cream, maple tea and goodies and the chance to breathe in the aroma as a wood-fired evaporator fills the cutest little sugarhouse with maple steam.
“This event is an excellent way to support local family businesses and producers in Maine, as it is a key part of their revenue,” says Scott Dunn, president of the Maine Maple Producers Association. “It is also just a great way for families and friends to get out and enjoy themselves after a long winter in Maine,” he adds.
First held in 1984, Maine Maple Sunday Weekend attracts thousands of visitors annually to sugar shacks throughout the state, from York County to Aroostook County way up north. The farther you travel, the more opportunities you’ll have to experience unique syrup flavors, which like wines, vary with the climate and terroir.
Can’t make it to Maine for this weekend of sugarhouse hopping? Maine maple syrup, maple sugar and other treats can be purchased any time of year. Many of the participating maple makers offer online as well as on-site sales. In addition to topping off a stack of pancakes, Maine’s official state sweetener is an excellent pantry staple: It can be used as a substitute for sugar in baked goods and other recipes, and it’s an excellent cocktail mixer in drinks like Maine Maple Lemonade, Maple Whiskey Sour or Hot Maple Buttered Rum.
With 24 natural antioxidants, maple also has many health benefits.
The Maine Maple Producers Association represents more than 200 of the 450 producers licensed to sell maple products in Maine. The state makes more than 575,000 gallons of syrup annually, generating more than $27 million for the Maine economy and supporting more than 560 full-time and part-time jobs that generate more than $17.3 million in wages. The majority of Maine’s producers are small artisan businesses that focus on flavor over volume production. You can find a map and full list of members participating in the event at the Association’s website.