Our land in Stannard, Vermont was first farmed in the 1700s, and the house we live in is around 200 years old. The farm has been in the Reynolds family since the 1940s. John Reynolds took the reins in the 1970s, mainly selling hay and raising chickens and pigs during the summer months. By 1979, pigs and chickens had been replaced with a barn full of Holstein "replacement heifers" - young dairy cattle raised for local dairy farms (to replace older animals or augment their herds). Carol Reynolds, John’s wife, taught grade school in the nearby town of Barton, providing a more steady income than farming, and also providing the family with health insurance coverage (not to be taken lightly when you work with animals and machinery for a living!).
Free farm labor (i.e., kids) began to arrive in the 1980s: a son (Travis) followed by 2 daughters (Jenna and Lindsey). The farm grew as the kids did – at its peak in the 1990s every year we produced more than 50 heifers, a dozen beef cows, over 6,000 bales of hay, and around 500 gallons of maple syrup. Since 2002, with the kids off to college, the farm has scaled down, and we have shifted to grass-fed beef and maple syrup alone.
Now, in 2011, we are starting to expand our syrup operation to meet growing demand. We have been certified organic since 2007 and remain focused on wood-fired production and sustainably managed sugarwoods.