The Marvin family has been deeply involved in the science, art and practice of maple sugaring and the Vermont Maple Industry since the 1940’s. A legacy and heritage we’re proud to carry forward as the next generation. Our story has become greater than that of just our own family. It extends to all those with whom we work – the sugarmakers that supply us, the customers whom we supply, and the Butternut Mountain Farm crew. Their stories are the story of Butternut Mountain Farm and we’re grateful for all that they’ve done to help to make us who we are.
– Emma & Ira Marvin
600-acres of land, full of potential, was purchased in the heart of Vermont maple country by James Wallace Marvin. He had the idea that overtime, with careful management, Butternut Mountain could become an abundant sugarbush. Dr. Marvin, a research professor, dedicated his career to understanding the mechanism of sap flow in sugar maple trees. Co-founding the Proctor Maple Research Center and the Vermont Maple Industry Council, his work led to the creation of the tubing and vacuum systems commonly used today in sap harvest.
Filled with an entrepreneurial spirit, David Marvin purchased an additional parcel of land below the land his father, Dr. James W. Marvin bought with the vision to turn maple sugaring into a livelihood. With a background in forestry, a focus on conservation was at the center of Butternut Mountain Farm’s establishment. In addition to maple, the early years saw a diversification of product and services. In addition to making maple, David Marvin grew Christmas trees and worked as a forestry consultant. The first sugarhouse was constructed in 1972 and the first sap flowed in the sugaring season of 1973.
An early adopter of the tubing and vacuum systems now implemented in modern day maple making, the first years were supported by a small crew. Achieving excellence in customer service became ingrained into Butternut Mountain Farm’s core values early as the phone lines rang with orders in the Marvin’s home kitchen. Since the founding, supporting the economic sustainability of maple in Vermont, bringing high quality maple syrup to the world, and leaving more than what we take from our sugarbush have been pillars of Butternut Mountain Farm.
With a dedication to detail, David Marvin was recognized as National Tree Farmer of the Year in 1984. Butternut Mountain Farm continued to expand with Marvin’s Country Store opening its doors in downtown Johnson in 1986. The first part of our Morrisville facility being built in 1989.
As second-generation owners, Emma and Ira Marvin understand the commitment it takes to continue the growth of a valued business with respect and care. Having been included in the business since their youth, they’re uniquely positioned to continue this legacy. Emma and Ira grew up around maple. They played in the woods that Butternut Mountain Farm still taps today and were introduced early on to the values of the business. Emma recalls sticking labels on business envelopes and answering customer calls on Sunday mornings.
Today, they continue to honor the principles Butternut Mountain Farm was founded on; integrity, hard work, attention to detail, passion, and a desire to do the right thing for the right reason.
Exploring new ways to bring real maple to the community and beyond continues to be at the heart of Butternut Mountain Farm. In 2014, a brand overhaul was implemented, and the best-selling squeeze bottle was introduced to the market for a no-mess, controlled pour of maple syrup. A new logo was introduced to visually connect people with who we are as a company; Butternut Mountain Farm and the Vermont Maple Sugar Company.
The methodical approach and rigor applied in Emma and Ira’s grandfather’s research carries through into what Butternut Mountain Farm does today. Whether testing out the latest in maple sugaring equipment, evaluating the latest processing equipment, or developing new products we believe that it’s the little things that make a difference.
Making maple syrup is dependent upon a naturally occurring resource, the sugar maple tree, and the land upon which it grows. Changes in climate, insects, land-use and development pressures pose the potential to significantly impact this. It’s crucial for Butternut Mountain Farm’s community, and business, to carefully steward the resources at hand. In 1995, 635 acres of Butternut Mountain Farm’s home farm was conserved through Vermont Land Trust to protect it from development.
In 2012 Butternut Mountain Farm installed 363 roof mounted solar panels on their Morrisville facility, expanding to 808 solar panels in 2016.
“Sustainability is ingrained in what we do,” David Marvin says. At Butternut Mountain Farm good stewardship of the land is defined as leaving more than what is taken, supporting the goal to be a net sequester of carbon. Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas. Carbon sequestration captures and stores carbon dioxide, reducing the amount of it in the atmosphere in an effort to reduce climate change. Sugarbushes are some of our best carbon sinks. On average, one gallon of Butternut Mountain Farm maple syrup sequesters 255 lbs. of carbon.
Maple is one of few products that comes from a wild grown plant that is part of a native eco-system. Reducing waste and conservation efforts are part of our roots and tethered to our future.
Butternut Mountain Farm is working to ensure that maple continues to be a vibrant and meaningful part of Vermont’s agricultural landscape. As the taste of maple continues to grow in demand, we will continue to expand opportunities for markets, and the folks who are dedicated to making pure maple syrup.
The Butternut Mountain Farm story continues with the same values that have been in place since the first tree was tapped: pure passion, exceptional expertise, trusted tradition, respected reliability, and a healthy, tasteful obsession for providing pure maple products from our trees to your table.