Several years ago, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture developed West Virginia Maple Day as a celebration of all things maple related – from farm tours to sales of maple syrup and maple products. Since then, the event has expanded from one to two days and will include tours at two maple syrup producing farms in Pocahontas County.
To add to the experience of the event, the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau has upped the ante with packaging ideas for local businesses, to turn the two weekends of Maple Days into an all out maple experience.
“It’s going to be February 23 and March 16,” CVB executive director Cara Rose said. “So they have two Saturdays of promoting West Virginia maple products and farm tours. In our county, we have two farms that are participating and offering public tours on the two dates and those are Frostmore Farm and Fort Warwick Farm.”
Rose said the two farms are great examples of the two sides of maple syrup production – the old way and the new way.
“The difference between Frostmore Farm and Fort Warwick essentially is the techniques that they use,” she said. “Frostmore Farm uses more of a modern technique. They have a lot of new equipment that helps them process and make the syrup and other products. Fort Warwick does it a little more traditionally, so when a visitor comes to the county to visit those two camps, then they get to experience two different ways of making maple syrup, which I think is a really cool thing.”
For 2019, the experience will be enhanced with special Maple Day packaging offered by local lodging facilities and restaurants.
“In order for us to enhance their experience, we’ve come up with a pilot program,” Rose said. “We’re encouraging our lodging partners in the county to offer a West Virginia Maple Day package – essentially, packaging those two weekends. We’ll be providing material to them to help support this program, giving them itineraries for Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re also encouraging our lodging partners to give a nice maple syrup or maple product gift when guests check in and also offer a custom maple breakfast menu for their guests on that weekend. So it pulls it all together, nice and neat.”
Rose said the CVB is also asking local restaurants to have special all-day breakfast menus for the two Maple Days weekends which will feature locally sourced maple syrup.
“We’ll have the tours on our tent cards so people will know they can go to the farms on those two dates,” Rose explained. “Then we’ll also put the custom menu that [restaurants] are offering for the all day breakfast on the other side for each individual restaurant so when people come in to the restaurant, they can see what they can get all day and also know it includes locally sourced maple syrup and maple products.”
The restaurants will also be given a list of local sources for maple syrup to use for the all-day breakfast meals.
As the pilot program for packaging, the Maple Days event will help pave the way for more event-specific packaging, Rose said.
“It’s a way for us to support the agri-tourism program in the county. We have tours, which makes it a really neat way for us to package. We have that activity that we can build around, and also support restaurants and lodging facilities. I think it’s going to start off small. Hopefully, we’ll gain some overnight guests.
“We’re excited about it,” Rose continued. “We’ve had some interest in it so far, so, hopefully, in the next couple weeks, we’ll have this all pulled together and get this campaign going.”
For updates on the Pocahontas County Maple Days events, visit www.pocahontascountywv.com