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. After 2002, with the kids off to college, the farm scaled down and shifted to grass-fed beef and maple syrup alone. But with this new focus came a new passion for selling our maple syrup directly to customers! Indeed, we now sell almost all of the 2000 gallons we make annually to restaurants and online customers across the country.
We have been certified organic since 2007 and remain focused on wood-fired production and sustainably managed sugarwoods. Although we use some technology such as vacuum and reverse-osmosis we are committed to authentic* sugarmaking and to farming at a family-sized scale.
*authentic: from Greek authentikos, meaning original and genuine, or acting on one's own authority