Before you know it, sugar shacks across Vermont will be gearing up for another spring season. One operation in Poultney that belongs to a sort of "Maple MacGyver," is relying on Mother Nature more than ever to produce a crop that is Made in Vermont.
Todd Ford is an electrical engineer by trade. Now he is more of a jack of all trades. His latest venture is his new sugar house in Poultney, made for the most part from Vermont materials.
"the lumber for this sugarhouse was cut in Benson, Vermont, under Vermont state management. It was cut off of Dick Walker's land and milled at Walker's saw mill in Fairhaven, Vermont ...and brought here, and was built here by Kenny Landon and myself," Ford said.
Much of the hardware in the building was recycled from an old barn on the site. The evaporator was purchased from the Leader Evaporator company in Swanton. It is fueled by wood. But perhaps the ultimate feature -- the electricity for the building comes from the sun.
"Vermont is moving into a new way where solar energy, or renewable energy, is a positive in the state of Vermont. It's really nice to be able to use 100-percent renewable energy in a commercial business, especially one like maple sugaring that uses a lot of electricity. It's very efficient. It's there, and you can count on it," Ford said.
In the maiden season for Mad Mountain Maple this past spring, Ford says he made 200 gallons of syrup from his 12 to 15-hundred taps. It is not a large operation, and that is the point. "We do not run on oil, so it's made all natural, the old fashioned way, the way grandpa made it," he said.
And Ford is already gearing up for his next solar-powered sugaring season, made right here in Vermont.
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