Maple Leaf Indicates the Event is Admission Free

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Downtown St. Albans

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Put away the car keys, and enjoy a complimentary bus trip to two of our local sugarhouses.  Busses leave from the Southwest Corner of Taylor Park, corner of Fairfield and Church, look for the sign.

Sugarhouse Tours are available Saturday only - April 25th, 2015.


“Tator” is Sugarmaker Stephen Tetreault’s Childhood Nickname!

Stephen’s story about the sugaring operation -
            “My father built this sugarhouse in Fairfield with my uncle in the 50's, with trees cut on the farm, sawn out at a local mill, and then hand cut at the site. The original sugarhouse had a lean-to style wood shed. I started sugaring here in 1994 on my own after many years of helping the neighbors with their operations. We began with an old 5x14 King evaporator that had an arch that needed re-tinning in a bad way. We bought 800 buckets, a used 4 wheel drive, an old trailer, gathering tub and other equipment. Over time we needed to upgrade since we had grown from 800 buckets to almost 2000 buckets, so we tore off the old woodshed and built a new one. In the fall of 2002 we upgraded our old evaporator with a newer one, the upgraded evaporator came from the Proctor Maple Research Center; it added forced draft and a Steam- Away to our operation. Eventually, in the late 2000's, we stopped using buckets and transitioned to tubing completely, with a vacuum system. After a long season in, I think it was 2009, and 70+ cords of wood later, we decided to invest in an RO. What a savings that was!  We went from the 70+ cords of wood to 17!  Now we are at approximately 5000 taps, all on vacuum with no buckets.  For the 2014 season we have a complete set of new pans from Leader, Revolution style with Steam Away.

            We use about 80 acres of the 100 acres of woodland that is on my father’s farm. Most of our syrup is sold in bulk to Highland Sugarworks and Maple City Candy, and the remainder we sell retail.”
Stephen Tetreault is a busy guy.  In addition to his work as a surveyor, he volunteers as Treasurer of the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers’ Association, Chair of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee; he is on the Board of Trustees for the Vermont Maple Festival, in charge of much of the Main Street planning and set up for the Festival.  That responsibility entails attending monthly meetings all year long. Stephen is also a director of Franklin County Field Days, which this year is hosting the Vermont Maplerama tour.

              All of that doesn’t interfere with producing the high quality Vermont maple syrup that is Stephen’s hallmark.  Syrup from Tator’s sugarhouse has won best of show at Vermont Farm Show, and the Vermont Maple Festival, as well as many Best of Class awards from those shows, and Champlain Valley Fair and Franklin County Field Days.  With some of that award-winning syrup, Stephen’s wife Lynn has won blue ribbons in the Vermont Maple Festival Cooking Competition, and most recently received Best of Class for her Maple Viniagrette dressing.  Following in their parents’ footsteps, the Tetreault children have also won ribbons at the Vermont Maple Festival.

            Stephen’s final comment was “With lots of help from family and friends we make this operation run!”


            There’s a LOT of pure Vermont Maple Syrup being made at JR Sloan’s sugarhouse in the sugaring country of Fletcher, Vermont.  The largest amount produced in one day, according to a recent television interview, was 4,300 gallons, and “JR” hopes to top that someday!  With approximately 16,000 to 17,000 taps on the land where the sugarhouse is situated, how is that amount possible?  JR “buys in” sap, and he is not dependent on one geographic area.  If adverse weather has affected production from one area, there is usually sap available from another.  Efficient, well-maintained equipment and hard work contribute to the abundant production.  JR owns 3 trucks and leases an additional 3.  There are eleven sap receiving stations that lead underground by pipeline, to the sugarhouse.  At the sugarhouse, five big Reverse Osmosis units remove water from the sap.  With two oil-fired 4 X 14 CDL evaporators, (the oldest is six years old, but looks brand new!) JR currently produces 42,000 to 48,000 gallons of syrup per year.  The syrup is sold and delivered to David Marvin at Butternut Farm in Morrisville.  Green Mountain Mainlines began the first year by being able to process sap from 12,000 taps in a day; the next year 22,000 taps; then 45,000; then 70,000; 98,000 last year; the next goal is 120,000, which will likely be realized because just yesterday they boiled 100,000 gallons of sap, working until midnight.

            The oldest part of the building was built six years ago, the newer addition is three years old.  JR is fast to express appreciation for neighbors who helped him to achieve his goals.  “Dave and Barb Mayotte helped a lot with materials, so I could keep on expanding.  Dave Marvin always helped with information, guidance and much encouragement.  I respect and admire him – he’s a good person.”  And there were others.  Peter Purinton (Huntington, Vermont sugarmaker) was JR’s role model – a kind of mentor, whom he admired.  “When I was a kid I wanted to be just like him.” As much as he credits those who helped him, JR said it was the naysayers who also caused him to work harder, sometimes 24 hours in a single day.  “The more they would come here and try to discourage me – tell me what I wanted to do couldn’t be done, the harder I would work.” 

            There’s a loft in the sugarhouse which is meticulously stocked with spare parts for sugaring equipment.  JR explains that if a neighbor has an equipment failure, especially on a weekend when the equipment dealers might not be open with a necessary part to make the repair, he is happy if he is able to help out.  “One way I can give back to the sugaring community for helping me!”

            Summer months are not idle for Green Mountain Mainlines.  They turn to the business of installing.  JR Sloan’s parting comment – “I just love sugarin’”


Yankee Farm Credit & Clarence Brown are the sponsors of the Sugarhouse Tours.