At the annual general meeting on the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia (MPANS) held at the Riverview Room, Jenkins Hall, Nova Scotia Agriculture College in Bible Hill on January 22, 2011, Avard and Jean Bentley of Westchester Station, Cumberland County were inducted into the Nova Scotia Maple Industry Hall of Fame.
Mr. and Mrs. Bentley’s involvement with the maple industry spans more than three decades. Their sugar camp was built on Westchester Mountain in 1978, pipeline was installed in 1980 and the first boil took place in the spring of 1981. Throughout the years, the family run maple business has prospered and has grown to be one of Nova Scotia’s largest operations. Taps have increased from the original 1,500, and in 2010 sap was collected and boiled from 35,000 taps.
The Bentleys have been very active in the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia (MPANS) having served in a variety of positions. Avard has served on the MPANS board of directors several times, and has been Vice-President and President. Jean was secretary/treasurer for many years and was active on the organizing committee of the Maple Festival of Nova Scotia. Jean and Avard have been prominent in the annual Westchester Maple Festival sponsored by the Westchester Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
The Bentleys also have a large lowbush blueberry operation and can be seen at most Wild Blueberry Association of Nova Scotia meetings. Avard is a member and chair of the Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission. Jean and Avard are involved in several other community organizations.
Avard attended the first ever North American Maple Syrup Council (NAMSC) meeting in 1986 and has been a director of NAMSC ever since. The annual general meetings of North American Maple Syrup Council and International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) and the associated technical sessions have been held in Nova Scotia on two occasions, in 1993 and 2003. Avard and Jean were very active in the planning committee on each occasion, with Avard serving as Co-Chair of both organizing committees. The NAMSC/IMSI annual conference will be held in Nova Scotia again in 2014 and Avard is once again on the organizing committee. Avard has been the MPANS official delegate to NAMSC and ISMI for many years. Avard has been recognized by the international maple industry and was inducted into the American Maple Hall of Fame in Croghan, New York in 2001.
Members of the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia thank Avard and Jean Bentley for their numerous contributions to the industry over the years and are very pleased to induct them into the Nova Scotia Maple Industry Hall of Fame.