Earlier this this year we "completed" construction on our new sugarhouse. It sits at the bottom of our 850 acre sugarbush in Belvidere, Vt. The Sugarhouse is at the low point in the property so sap from all of the trees will flow by gravity downhill to the tanks in the sugarhouse. That makes life easier for us, no pumping, trucking, or collecting sap at midpoints.
We used all local contractors to complete the work and used local materials wherever possible. Many of you probably know that building material costs have skyrocketed this year. We feel lucky we purchased most of the material last year. With the current cost of lumber, we probably couldn't have afforded to build it this year!
Many people helped us with the completion of this project, and we can't thank them enough. They really showed the true craftsmanship still present in rural Vermont.
We tried to make the sugarhouse as environmentally friendly as possible, from the site work to the insulation levels used to reduce heating costs. We'll look at adding solar panels to the roof. It has good southern solar exposure, but with the amount of snow we get (regularly over 5 feet high in the winter) we're not sure they would be effective.
The sugarhouse will be used to collect sap and process it into maple syrup in the springtime. The finished maple syrup is stored in stainless steel barrels. For the rest of the year we take the syrup out of these barrels and bottle it into jugs and glass bottles and we use it to make our products like maple sugar, cream, candy and granola.
We have the sap storage tanks and the equipment to produce maple syrup like the evaporator installed It will take us several more years to completely finish and outfit the interior of the building. Our next step is to complete the kitchen area. This is where we will have a bottling line for filling syrup containers and a kitchen area to make our maple products.
For comparison, here is a picture of Harvey's grandfather's sugarhouse in the 1950's. The sugarhouse still stands up the hill from Harvey's current house and Harvey boiled in it when he wa a kid. We've come a long way over the years, but we've tried to not lose the Vermont spirit for making the best tasting, purest maple syrup available.