Maple farmers experienced a difficult transition when the COVID-19 outbreak in North America resulted in the shutting down of sugarhouses to the public, particularly during some of the most crucial weekends for in-person maple sales. Sugarmakers had to quickly pivot in order to make up for lost sales in the sugarhouse as well as from wholesale restaurant and school accounts. This shift brought about some creative thinking and innovative solutions to reach customers and promote maple products. Some successful marketing, sales and agritourism strategies have not only helped producers recover lost sales, but have permanently enhanced their future sales approach and marketing plans.
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Cottage food laws vary considerably from state to state, and are generally intended to be a way for small farmers and food processors to establish small businesses offering value-added food products. Some states require food producers to pay a fee, obtain a permit or license, or register with the town, county or state. Periodic health inspections of home kitchens and even product testing may also be required depending on location.
As the maple industry has grown, so too has the use of plastic sap tubing. Solutions are needed to help producers dispose of tubing when it is past its useful life, in ways that ensure it is not merely ending up in landfills.