Located on a hillside 1,000 feet above the village of Johnson at the end of three miles of rough dirt road is the 860-acre tree farm that the Marvin Family has stewarded for more than half a century. It is now part of the 1,650 acres of managed woodlands the family owns. “This place is the soul and spirit of our business,” says owner and founder of Butternut Mountain Farm, David Marvin. “Even today, I can’t imagine having built our business from any other place.”
“It’s where we’ve learned, practiced and experienced what true stewardship of the land is all about,” says Marvin. Much of the work on the farm will bear fruit in 40 to 100 years. A section of woods David and his father started tending nearly 60 years ago was recently brought into production for the first time. David reflects, “Work on that kind of time scale teaches you humility and gives you along-term view of things.” With a constant consideration towards conservation, practices of stewardship are managed to leave more than is taken from our woodlands.
“You develop a real connection to the place, you know the land and the trees intimately. Each season I visit many trees two or three times – in a life time I’ll visit some trees and spots hundreds of times.”
For David, being able to go into the woods and make a living from them, without diminishing them, feels good.
Being a producer as well as a packager provides a unique perspective. “We know what the struggles and rewards are,” says Marvin. “One of the greatest and most satisfying challenges I face is making the farm not just productive, but sustainable. It’s something that we should all be striving for –sustainability.”
Through thoughtful year-round stewardship of our woodlands and attention to the wild grown sugar and red maple trees that are indigenous to North America we can harvest high-quality maple syrup season after season.
The farmers with whom we work share our commitment to maintaining the health and sustainability of the Northeastern forest. Over the past fifty years we’ve built relationships with over 500 select maple sugar makers – people whose stories we know and practices we respect. Our own farm now produces less than one percent of the syrup we process each year. We can trace every drop of syrup from farm to table across 100,000 acres of land the suppliers of Butternut Mountain Farm manage.
While the production of maple syrup may look as simple and idyllic as tapping a tree, collecting sap and boiling it into syrup, the process