Don’t Look Now, But the Sap's Running!

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Front Page / Feb. 25, 2010 11:57am EST

By David Barreda


With the help of his daughters Michelle, 11, left, and Anna, 9, James Poulin runs maple sugaring lines through a sugarbush he leases in Brookfield. Some maple producers had already produced early syrup by early this week, but pipelines throughout Central Vermont were slammed by two feet of heavy snow Wednesday, setting back sugaring efforts. (Herald / David Barreda)With the help of his daughters Michelle, 11, left, and Anna, 9, James Poulin runs maple sugaring lines through a sugarbush he leases in Brookfield. Some maple producers had already produced early syrup by early this week, but pipelines throughout Central Vermont were slammed by two feet of heavy snow Wednesday, setting back sugaring efforts. (Herald / David Barreda)Sugaring has come early to the White River Valley.

Earlier this week, as a light snow fell silently among the branches of a sugar bush, James Poulin and his daughters Michelle, 11, and Anna, 9, trudged up snowy slopes. These woods are the woods Poulin grew up in and he knows them well and on the eve of sugaring season he is checking his lines and preparing for this season's take.

"I'll be putting about 1,600 taps this year," Poulin says. This is about 200 less than last year. This full-time beef farmer and lifelong Vermonter is betting that a new tap developed by UVM's Proctor Maple Research Center will let him put in fewer taps and get the same yield, if not more.

The new tap incorporates a check valve into the tap that will prevent bacterial contamination and back-flow of sap.

Beyond the economic benefits of sugaring Poulin's glad that his daughters know first-hand the process and agricultural lifestyle.

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