WINDHAM – Maine Maple Sunday was a rousing success due to enormous crowds and a decent maple-sugaring season, said Mark Cooper, owner of Cooper’s Maple Products and Cooper’s Royal Heritage Farm on Chute Road in Windham.

Cooper, who is also an official in the Maine Maple Producers Association, said of his brisk sales, “we sold everything but the siding off the sugar shack.”

Cooper reported about 4,000 visitors, “much more than usual” and he and wife, Gaylene, sold every ounce of maple syrup they had, which was more than 100 gallons when the day began. They also sold every piece of maple candy, every jar of maple sugar, plus about 100 pounds of honey. Later in the day, Cooper said people had to walk to the farm after parking their vehicles up to a mile away.

Cooper said other farms in the area had similar crowds and sales.

“Every sugar house I know of, and we’ve been in contact with many in our area yesterday and today, everybody was mobbed with people. At least in the southern part of the state, everyone had a record turnout for the day,” Cooper said.

Cooper added that the season is going well and he expects to get another two to three weeks of syrup production. By comparison, last year’s Maine Maple Sunday was bleak since maple trees had already budded by the end of March due to unusually warm weather. Budding marks the end of a tree’s internal sap flow, Cooper said.

Next year, if weather cooperates as it did this year and the event continues in its popularity, Cooper said association members are going to have to figure out how to control crowds better so visitors can enjoy the farms and not feel overcrowded.

“We’re all a little concerned because of the volume of people who came out that there were some long lines that we don’t usually get quite that bad. We’re hoping it doesn’t discourage people from coming out another year. We’re going to try to reorganize things to try to cut down on that,” Cooper said.

A longtime farmer who’s seen his share of Maple Sundays, Cooper qualified his worries about the future saying this year’s crowds may have been a happy fluke.

“Next year, it could raining with a 30-mph wind, we never know,” Cooper joked.

Jan Cleveland, of Casco, pets one of Cooper Royal Heritage Farm’s miniature horses named Vanity. Besides the maple products at Coopers, the animals are a big draw.
Cooper Royal Heritage Farm’s lines run long at Maine Maple Sunday’s daylong celebration. About 4,000 people visited the farm Sunday. Photo by Erik Bartlett

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