"Everybody's got to have a sugar house," said Nick Lemieux, a member of the Georgia Mountain Maples business. And those that do, got to show them off for the annual Vermont Maple Open House Weekend. At Georgia Mountain Maples, the finished syrup is not the single main attraction. "This is probably one of the most modern ones you'll find anywhere," said Robert Gruver.
Nick Lemieux is one of the many family members with a hand in the operation. He says their efficient methods for sugar making, using water vacuum pumps, allows them to get the most from the trees with very little waste. "Sugar making is part of Vermont. It's something you should do, you don't have to do it but you should do it. Enjoy the process of making maple syrup," said Lemieux.
"When we acquired the land sometime ago, it had a lot of maple potential and we really wanted to chase that end of it," said owner, Jim Harrison.
Harrison says they re-developed the land to start their maple journey. But another industry was also in their sights. "But in reality we wanted to chase the wind project. our family really believes in renewable energy," said Harrison. The maple business was delayed for six years until the Georgia Mountain Community Wind project was complete. It's been 2 years now, and the maple syrup business has been flowing.
"The only competition you have is against yourself to do better the next year, you can always improve. You can throw all of us into one group. That's what's nice about it, I think," said Lemieux.
"We think that this maple business is a wicked good family adventure. If you look around here, we have a hill out front where grand kids are sliding. All friends and strangers here. It's a family adventure, that's what it's all about," said Harrison.
And with every year's maple open house weekend, there are more adventures to come at this farm, and all sugar makers across the region.