From the community

The flow of maple tree sap surely means spring is on the way

Posted March 21, 2014, at 3:38 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Commissioner Walt Whitcomb invites families to visit the nearly 100 Maine sugar houses open to the public Sunday, March 23, as part of Maine Maple Sunday.

The annual event, held every fourth Sunday in the month of March, will take place for the 31st time. Participating sugar houses will be open for visitors to enjoy freshly made maple syrup and candy, demonstrations of syrup production, sugarbush tours and a variety of other family activities.

On March 5, Gov. Paul R. LePage highlighted the start of Maine‘s maple season by tapping a maple tree on the Blaine House lawn with legislators and representatives from the Maine Maple Producers Association. The governor used the annual event to highlight the economic contributions of Maine‘s maple syrup industry and its potential to create more jobs.

“This industry demonstrates the excellent opportunity Maine has to promote its natural resource-based economy, as well as to promote job creation for our citizens,” said  LePage in a press release. “According to a recent study, Maine‘s maple industry contributes an estimated $27.7 million directly to the Maine economy. That same study also shows that Maine‘s maple industry has an annual statewide economic contribution, including multiplier effects, of an estimated $48.7 million in output, 805 full- and part-time jobs and $25.1 million in labor income.”

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb noted the support that Maine‘s maple industry receives from a variety of sources. “Governor LePage, the Legislature and the Maine Maple Producers Association have worked together to grow this industry in recognition of it significance to Maine‘s rural economy,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “The maple industry symbolizes how Maine can have multiple uses of its natural resources, including maple syrup, wood production, recreation and open space.”

The study quoted by Governor LePage was conducted by University of Maine Professor of Economics Todd Gabe and funded through a partnership between the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, University of Maine and the Maine Maple Producers Association.

Other key findings of the study:

  • Maine has the third largest maple industry in the United States.
  • Maine‘s maple industry is characterized by a relatively small number of farms accounting for the vast majority of syrup that is produced.
  • Maine‘s licensed maple syrup producers have been in operation an average of 24 years, and many of the farms span multiple generations.
  • Maine‘s maple industry-which counts the licensed producers and sales at retail food stores and businesses impacted by Maine Maple Sunday-generates 567 full- and part-time jobs and $17.3 million in labor income.

Some sugar houses will hold events on both Saturday and Sunday. For a list and map of participating sugar houses, visit the Maine Maple Producers Association website: http://www.mainemapleproducers.com/

Or: http://www.getrealmaine.com for the Department’s consolidated list.

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to:https://www.maine.gov/dacf/

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