The Maine Maple Producers Association (MMPA) is pleased to announce the 41st Maine Maple Sunday Weekend on March 23-24, 2024. A favorite annual event, visitors are welcomed at local sugarhouses to celebrate Maine’s maple syrup in as many ways as possible.
“As always, our members are thrilled to host Maine Maple Sunday – maple producers are preparing creative ways to share their love of all things maple,” said Lyle Merrifield, president of the MMPA. “Over 100 sugar houses will be open in 15 counties, some on Sunday only, but many for the whole weekend so everyone can enjoy some sweetness.”
Activities vary from sugarhouse to sugarhouse. Many offer demonstrations of tree tapping, boiling, filtering, bottling and sugarbush tours, and some are offering horse-drawn wagon rides, farm animals to pet, full pancake breakfasts, live music and family-friendly activities. There will be many maple products to sample or purchase like maple syrup, maple candies, nuts, baked goods and popcorn.
Considered a tasty treat and preferred cooking ingredient by many, new research shows maple syrup’s advantages over other sweeteners, like refined sugar.
“Researchers from Québec and the University of Rhode Island have been investigating the potential health benefits of maple syrup, as compared to other sweeteners,” said Jason Lilley, the state’s maple industry educator for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
“Prior work had identified that pure maple syrup contains over 100 compounds such as vitamins and minerals, amino acids, phytohormones, and 67 phenolic compounds including many polyphenols. A recent clinical trial confirmed the suspicions that substituting other sweeteners with pure maple syrup increased participants’ glucose tolerance, meaning their bodies better managed their blood sugar levels after eating. Participants who consumed maple syrup instead of other sweeteners also had lowered blood pressure. Who knew that Maine’s official sweetener could not only support local businesses, taste delicious, and be a climate smart food product, but it’s good for you, too!”
To find a sugarhouse to visit, see the MMPA website for the full list of participating sugarhouses and their hours.
Since 1983, Maine Maple Sunday Weekend® has attracted thousands of visitors annually to sugarhouses throughout the state. Many producers create the four different varieties of maple syrup — golden with delicate flavor, amber with rich flavor, dark with robust flavor, and very dark color with strong flavor. These varieties are not often found in grocery stores and have different flavor profiles and uses.
The MMPA represents more than 250 of the 450 producers licensed to sell maple products in Maine. The majority of Maine’s producers are small, artisan businesses that focus on flavor over volume production.
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