CHESTERVILLE – As the second largest maple producer in the country, with 450 licensed maple farms, Maine Maple Sunday is both an economic and a recreational milestone for Mainers. The event was cancelled last year for the first time in 37 years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year however, people are more prepared to navigate social events while still abiding by safety regulations. With a year’s worth of pandemic-life learning under their belts, maple producers have announced that Maine Maple Sunday will return this year on March 27 and 28. Those participating in the event are optimistic that the public’s enthusiasm for the day’s celebration will help to amend some of the economic impact that they felt due to last year’s cancellation.
“Maine Maple Sunday is the day you get 75 percent of your sales,” said Tyler Jenness, who owns and operates JB Farm in Chesterville with his wife, Carrie.
The two took over the farm after Carrie’s parents in 2016 but had just registered with Maine Maple Producers in 2020.
“As our first year, it was a rough start,” said Jenness. “So, we’re hoping that this year gets our business some more attraction.”
JB Farm will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, offering sugarhouse tours, and tastings. Their baked and canned goods, as well as meat products will be for sale through their farm store. In the coming weeks, they are hoping to launch a website with more information on the event, as well as videos from the day’s activities.
For owner James Black of Black Acre Farms, it’s his own farm store that kept the maple producer afloat during the previous year when sales suffered on account of Maine Maple Sunday’s cancellation.
When asked if Jenness’ own 75 percent profit claim was accurate for Black Acre Farms, Black replied: “I think for strictly maple producers, that’s probably accurate, but since we have the farm store too, we’re pretty lucky. That’s kept us going so that we didn’t feel quite the hit as strictly maple farms.”
Black Acre Farms’ success might also be owed to the sheer longevity of its legacy, being a fourth-generation family operated farm. Currently, James is running it with his father, Russell. They will be open both Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offering barn tours, hayrides, sugar bush tours and maple tastings.
“It will be a pretty typical Maine Maple Sunday for us. I think all maple producers are excited to get people back,” said Black.
In the surrounding area, many other farms are taking part in the holiday. In Wilton, Long Drive Acres Maple Farm will be open on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will be treated to the traditional wagon ride to the sugar shack, where demonstrations will take place. Vanilla ice cream with maple syrup, maple cotton candy, and maple cream will be available for tasting all day.
Norlands Living History Center, while not offering their traditional in-person pancake breakfast, will be offering contact-free sales for pancakes and maple syrup so that families can enjoy the tradition at home. Orders can be placed on their website a week in advance.
For the full list of farms participating in Maine Maple Sunday, visit the Maine Maple Producer’s website here: https://mainemapleproducers.com/maine-maple-sunday#!directory/map