April 22, 23 and 24th 2016
Sponsored by Clarence Farms and Yankee Farm Credit
Saturday April 23, 2016
Loading times 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM, and 2:30 PM at the Historical Society
Whether you're an antique collector or you love a cooking demonstration, there is always something to see at the Sugarhouse tour sites.
Connor Maple Farm welcomes tour visitors at this year’s Maple Festival. Mike wrote an interesting bit of family history. Our parents and extended family instilled in us at a very young age the value of a work ethic and team work. ‘Everyone, no matter what age, had a job to do, and enjoyed doing it - whether they liked it or not!”
Mike’s full time job is co-owner of Connor Contracting Inc., a Vermont based Commercial General Contracting Company, which he owns with his three brothers. By 2011 Mike, (a former “Fairfield teamster and sugarmaker”) together with his wife Joanne, had started their sugaring business in the vicinity of their St. Albans home, enough to begin Connor Maple Farm. They built a 2,500 square foot post and beam sugarhouse, and had it equipped and ready for the 2012 season.
In early this January, the staff of Green Mountain Main Lines were in the woods, adding to the initial 9,000 taps that they installed in 2011. The modern tubing installation delivers sap under vacuum from the woods to the sugarhouse, where the sap is concentrated through a 4 post Reverse Osmosis machine, set at 12 to 14 percent, to concentrate the sweetness before boiling the concentrated sap in a 4’ X 12’ CDL oil fired evaporator, equipped with a steam pre-heater.
In addition to some excellent seasonal employees, Joanne and Mike are blessed with a close knit family that enjoy the sugaring season. Sons Sean, age 23, Ryan age 20, Mark, age 18, and daughter Meghan, age 13, all take part in the many tasks required during sugaring.
Having grown up experiencing a family working together, Mike wanted the same for his children. We all enjoy the change of seasons and love being outside experiencing the rebirth which is sugaring and springtime in Vermont. The syrup is sold primarily in bulk, with some packed for individual sales.
I own and operate a 3rd generation dairy farm that was purchased by my grandfather (Omer Bourbeau) in 1947. My father (Gilles Bourbeau) then purchased the farm from my grandfather in 1962. My brother, Richard, and I went into partnership with my father in December of 1979 and were partners intil I purchased the farm from Richard in May of 2003. My two sons (Justin and Eric), my wife (Kim), and I are the people in the operation.
Our farm had never done any sugaring prior to 2002, so this was all new to us. With the help of several good friends, the first year we had 3,800 taps and have since grown to having approximately 35,000 taps.
In the summer of 2006, we decided to build our own sugarhouse. Most of the work to build the sugarhouse was done by my sons, my father, my friends, and me. Over the years we have added to the back end of the building, and built an additional 40' by 50' building for sap storage. In 2014, we added a 30' by 60' storage shed and workshop, and in 2015, a 40' by 120' warehouse for commercial syrup sales.
Our sugaring system is all vaccuum with 6' x 14' evaporator and an 80,000-gallon reverse osmosis system. Kim helps with the business end of the operation, and she does the cooking, including some maple specialties!
See the Sugarhouse Tours information below