Maple Syrup

Tapping out

It’s been a strange winter in Vermont; not much snow, or cold for that matter.  (Given how much snow we got last winter, it’s not entirely unwelcome!)

So pretty soon we’ll be finding out what effect this (the weather) will be having on the sugaring season:  Fraser and his crew started tapping out on Monday.

With 25,000 taps, more or less, to drill, set and connect (to the tubing) this process typically takes 2-3 weeks to complete.  But the boiling...

What’s Up in the Store?

We are new to the retail business, and we’re finding out how to create a satisfying store.  We weren’t sure what to expect after the Christmas-New Years season, since this is our first year.  Sure enough, the darkest post-holiday days of early January were pretty quiet, which was a good thing, so we could regroup.

Lately, though, we have a steadily growing stream of customers coming through the doors.  We’re finding out who our neighbors are...

Be careful what you wish for (or: scaling up is hard to do)

As explained in a previous post, we ran a “promotion” with a discount coupon site called DealChicken on December 19th, and the resulting flood of orders was pretty overwhelming.  We’re now back to having things more or less under control, so I have the time to tell a little more of the story, as I experienced it.

First, some numbers for perspective:  we’re a small family business that’s trying to grow large enough to be sustainable (i.e. profitable...

Hidden Springs Maple in the Headlines Again

Today’s Brattleboro Reformer article describes the surge in Hidden Springs’ business due to the promotion we participated in on Monday:

As the article points out, we’re reaching a new, wider base of customers who may not have tried maple syrup before.  We think our maple syrup is too good not to share, but we’re determined to maintain our reputation...


At midnight on Sunday, a website called DealChicken, that sells discount coupons for products and services, posted a promotion of our maple syrup.

By sunrise Monday, we  watched as the usual trickle of orders turned to a steady and rising river threatening to overflow its banks.  We swung into high gear, mounting our response in the shipping and canning rooms.  We had not anticipated just how much demand for maple syrup there is when the price is...

Vermont is #1?

According to United Health Foundation, Vermont is the healthiest state in the Union.

We’re also #1 in US maple syrup production.

Covariance is not causality.  Still, not bad.

We live in a pretty cool State

I don’t want to get into a big political discussion about whether government is too big, too small or whatever…but if you want to see a pretty good example of a State government that does a lot of things well, come visit us.

As you may know, Vermont was hit hard by Hurricane Irene — something like 500 miles of roadways, particularly the many mountain roads that follow rivers and streams — were severely damaged.  Yet today, only a small stretch of...

Hidden Springs Maple Farm Store is Open! (updated with pictures)

We held our “grand opening” celebration yesterday, with food, drink and music for all.  The Governor of Vermont — Peter Shumlin, who grew up in Putney and is an old friend of the family — attended and spoke on the bright future of Vermont, especially in light of increased interest in where our food comes from, and how it’s produced.  The Brattleboro Reformer has an article (excellent photograph, questionable text) that you can view here (note that...

Return of the beavers

We in Vermont live close to the natural world, and in general we love it.  But there’s no denying that we leave our mark on it — we build roads, walls and sugarhouses for example.

Sometimes the creatures of the natural world do things that we find inconvenient.  For several years running a phoebe would build a nest atop a light fixture on our back deck, making it awkward to enjoy it in the warm days of early summer:  if we sat out there, she would...

Interesting article on Maple Syrup Grades

This article in The Atlantic Monthly does a good job of describing, from a connaisseur’s perspective, the differences between the lighter and darker syrup grades.

From our perspective, though, it has one significant error:  it states that the lighter syrup grades are generally more expensive, the darker grades cheaper.  This may have been true at one time but today — at least at Hidden Springs Maple — this price differential has largely disappeared...