Maple Weekend a sweet tradition even with COVID rules

  • Hagar's Farm Market offered fried dough and doughnuts with maple cream and fresh-cut fries in honor of this year's Maple Weekend. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

  • Howard and Jeanne Boyden of Boyden Brothers Maple in Conway. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Hagar's Farm Market offered fried dough and doughnuts with maple cream and fresh-cut fries in honor of this year's Maple Weekend. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

  • Syrup for sale at Boyden Brothers Maple in Conway. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/21/2021 3:56:28 PM

It may not have been a typical Maple Weekend in many ways, but that didn’t stop residents from coming out in support of their local sugarhouses.

“It’s been an uncertain year, but people have been good about buying products,” said Howard Boyden, president of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association and co-owner of Boyden Brothers Maple in Conway. “All I can say is thank you for that.”

Maple Weekend, which is held each March during Maple Month, is an annual opportunity for sugarhouses across the state to open their doors to customers to learn how maple products are made, talk to a sugarmaker and bring home pure maple products, according to Massachusetts Maple Producers Association.

Although Boyden Brothers wasn’t able to offer its customers samples of syrup this weekend as it had in past years, Jeanne and Howard Boyden said the sugarhouse on South Deerfield Road likely saw as many customers as it would have in past years.

“We’re limited, because of COVID,” said Jeanne Boyden. “People don’t seem to mind. They’re just happy to be out.”

Howard Boyden said overall, the first day of Maple Weekend was “a pretty good day.”

Over in Shelburne, customers lined up outside Hagar’s Farm Market for their helping of fried dough with maple cream and doughnuts with maple cream, as well as hand cut fries.

“We usually make 2,000 gallons of syrup a year, so this is kind of how we celebrate Maple Weekend,” said Kim Stevens of Hagar’s Farm Market, as she fried the dough beneath the white tent set up for the weekend. The special was offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m both days.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no boiling demonstration, as was the case in past years.

“We usually have a tremendous amount of samples, too,” she said.

Stevens said they never necessarily thought they wouldn’t be able to celebrate Maple Weekend, given the pandemic and the protocols that would need to be in place.

“It was just going to be weather-dependent,” she said. “People are really great about distancing and wearing masks.”

She said she was happy to see so many people out and enjoying their maple products.

“People are great supporters of ours, and they really love the maple cream and fried dough,” she said. “It’s a nice treat — it’s been a long winter for some people.”

Also honoring Maple Weekend this year was Winston’s Sugar House on Ashfield Road in Buckland, according to the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association. Although the sugarhouse wasn’t holding special events, it was open both days from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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