The dairy industry in Vermont is a true economic, agricultural and land management force. Yes, that’s right the dairy industry employs thousands of people, generates billions of dollars in revenue and manages nearly 80% of Vermont’s farmland. The Strafford Organic Creamery, on Rockbottom Farm in Strafford, Vermont, is a key contributor to this industry. Owners Earl Ransom and Amy Huyffer manage over 1,000 acres of land and make some of the highest quality organic milk and ice cream in our state. They milk seventy Guernsey cows and take deep pride in operating an organic, pesticide- and chemical-free farm.
At this time of year, I always welcome the earliest signs of spring: the arrival of the red winged blackbird, the sight of sap buckets on large maple trees, and the steam coming out the chimneys of sugar houses. These days sugaring is often done in a more efficient way than with traditional sap buckets. The use of reverse-osmosis machines, plastic tubing, and vacuum pump collection are common practices. Of course there is still a small number of sugarers who use the old method of hanging sap buckets, which I cherish—I love seeing them, and smelling and even tasting the sap collected in the buckets. Trudging from tree to tree through the mud or snow is a lot of work, but any method for collecting sap is a humongous job!
Maple syrup, the Vermont delicacy dates back hundreds of years when Native Americans first discovered the sap flowing from Sugar Maple trees and boiled it into the sweet caramel syrup we know and love today. Vermont is the top producer of maple syrup in the United States with a share of 40%, or over 3.5 million gallons. While many other states produce maple syrup no