PALMYRA, Maine—Sugarmakers were reporting record crowds for maple open house weekends across the Maple Belt.
“We’ve had more people than we’ve had in years,” said Charles Levesque in Antrim, N.H. on Saturday, March 24.
New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine all had public tours this weekend.
In Maine, the crowds were literally massive.
At Eureka Farms in Palmyra, Maine, Seth and Hollis Edwards were expecting more than 5,000 visitors over the two day event last weekend.
Edwards marshals the help of more than 50 volunteers, neighbors and friends to help make the event go smoothly.
‘We’re lucky to have staff here to help us,” Edwards said.
In Newburgh, Maine, sugarmaker Len Price made batches of candy and cream every day for six weeks starting in early February just to have enough for the Maine Maple Sunday event.
Wife Nancy Price was frantically filling half pint jugs of dark robust on Sunday morning, having sold out the day before.
“We’ve had so many people,” she said.
The Prices 1000-tap Nutkin Knoll sugarhouse was expecting 2,000 people and had the local fire department directing traffic all day, parking cars.
In New Hampshire, Donald and Barbara Lassonde were seeing big crowds at their Beaver Meadowbrook sugarhouse in Warner, N.H.
“We’ve had good publicity,” Barbara Lassonde said.
She was also worried she might sell out of all of their product—a season’s worth of supply.
In New York, Kevin Keyes of Dry Brook Sugarhouse in Salem, N.Y. said they had near record crowds in their sugarhouse restaurant during the two weekend maple open house event.
“We served more than 1,000 plates of pancakes,” Keyes said.
Meanwhile, sugarmakers were starting to make syrup again this week after a 10-day mid-month shutdown.
Joe and Adele Suga of Vassalboro, Maine were boiling again this weekend, finally busting through many feet of snow from the series of Nor’easter snowstorms that walloped their region.
“We didn’t get all of our taps set because of the snow,” Suga said on Sunday. “We missed the early season runs.”
Suga has a large field between his sugarhouse and his woods and was unable to get across it with a chained-tire John Deere tractor until last week.
Sugarmakers are still struggling with low test sap.
In Ohio, sugarmakers said that they were experiencing abnormally low sugar content in the sap and that was affecting production, according to OSU Extension Agent Les Ober
“This was a common story everywhere I went and in some out of state locations as well,” Ober said.