WYEBRIDGE – The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (OMSPA) announced that Maple Weekend has been cancelled for 2021. The event, which takes place the first weekend of April each year, sees more than 15,000 visitors visit participating sugarbushes in Ontario.
“We are very sorry to cancel Maple Weekend for the second year in a row,” said OMSPA president Frank Heerkens.
“Unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 has made it so we cannot safely host the weekend this year. OMSPA and our members are committed to ensuring we are conforming with health advisories and are doing our part to combat the spread of the virus,” said Heerkens.
As the first agricultural crop of the year, maple syrup producers are following all COVID-19 guidelines for safe production practices and continue to “produce a wonderful, made in Ontario product for customers,” states a Feb. 23 press release from the organization.
Maple syrup production will be starting in most parts of Ontario in early March, once temperatures remain above zero during the day, and fall below zero at night.
Maple syrup and maple products will continue to be available at sugarbushes across the province throughout the sugar season. Members of the public are encouraged to reach out to their local sugarbush to confirm if they are offering in-person visits, curbside pick-ups, or online sales.
An interactive map of maple syrup producers, along with nutritional information and recipes, is available at www.ontariomaple.com.
“Our producers are working hard to make maple syrup this year, and many of them rely on visits to their sugarbush to sell their products,” Heerkens said. “Many producers have moved their stores online and are happy to make arrangements to ensure syrup makes it into the hands of customers, safely.”
OMSPA is in the midst of planning a new event for fall 2021 that will run between Sept. 25 to Oct. 3. It will encourage Ontarians to visit participating sugarbushes across the province to celebrate the fall colours and maple syrup production in Ontario.