With the cancellation of the Pennsylvania Maple Festival due to coronavirus concerns, maple producers who supply products for event are looking at alternative ways to recoup their losses.
The festival was to be held Saturday and Sunday and April 1-5 at sites throughout Meyersdale.
Jason Blocher, owner of Milroy Farms in Salisbury, said his operation is going to suffer financially because of the cancellation.
"There's no question about it, it's going to hurt our sales along with a lot of other businesses in the area that benefited from the festival," he said.
Blocher said because the farm is close to Meyersdale, many people who attend the festival often made their way over to Milroy Farms' store to buy product and tour the works.
"This is a big money-maker for us both in the product that we supply to the festival that is sold there and those who come to the farm," he said.
Blocher said Milroy Farms has launched a social media campaign to let people know the business is not under mandate to close because it is an on-the-farm market.
"We can still supply people if they need maple syrup or want candy for Easter baskets," he said. "We can ship to them, or they can give us a call, and we can put an order together that can be picked up."
In addition, the farm has a pick-up area for orders for those wanting to keep social distancing.
"You give us a call, we'll put your order together and you can pick it up without any interaction with anybody," Blocher said.
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Stephanie Emerick, owner of Emerick's Maple LLC in Hyndman along with husband Matthew, said being unable to attend the festival is drastically affecting their business.
"We already had everything ready and prepared for the festival, so now we're left with countless containers and pounds of coated nuts that we only make for the festival," she said. "Now we're tying to market them elsewhere at a clearance price or a discount if you buy multiples. I'm not going to throw them in the freezer and try to resell them next year."
Emerick said products such as maple mustard and barbecue sauce and syrup have a good shelf life and they will be able to sell those.
"It's the by-products that we had prepared for the festival that we now have to find different ways to market them," she said.
Emerick said they are advertising their products on their Facebook page and website along with eBay where people can place orders.
"We've been receiving a lot of calls from people because the festival is closed who normally get syrup there who are looking to have a boxful shipped to them," she said. "It's slowly going but there is a long ways to go."
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For more information, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EmericksPureMapleProducts.
'Make it through'
Kyle Hillegas, owner of Hillegas Sugar Camp in Fairhope, said his business is going to have sell more bulk syrup to make up for festival losses.
"All the syrup we send over bottled was already bottled, but we should be able to use it throughout the year," he said. "Typically, we bottle numerous times throughout the year, so the sizes we send over we wouldn't not need to bottle for a while. They will get used up."
He said the festival is a decent money maker for the business and it helps pay the bills from the production season.
"We're taking the syrup that we would have sold bottled and instead we're going to end up selling more bulk," Hillegas said. "We'll make it through but it's definitely going to hurt."
To place an order, call 814-233-5843 or visit www.hillegassugarcamp.com.
For more information, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Hillegassugarcamp.