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Summertime At Butternut Mountain Farm

It’s summer in Vermont and the slopes of the Green Mountains have returned to their verdant glow. The flowers have bloomed and all the taps from the maple trees have been pulled. Summertime at Butternut Mountain Farm  doesn’t mean operations shut down. Once the sap has stopped, there’s still much to do. The dedication and hard work of our forestry crew is year-round. The summer months bring a new set of projects, and they all are to keep the trees healthy and the sap yield for next season as abundant as possible.

So what’s going on at the home farm, and who is doing what? “Well, we all have different talents,” Fran Sladyk, Forester at Butternut Mountain Farm says.

Through each season, managing biodiversity is a priority. “While we promote maple growth, we also are very mindful of diversity.” There are two apple trees at the farm that were released for the sake of habitat. You’ll also find the presence of red oak, a fairly rare species for this region. Butternut Mountain also has beech, yellow birch, black cherry, white birch, spruce, hemlock, ash, and white pine within our woods. “Basically we like to have at least 25% non-maples for good diversity,” Fran says. Managing diversity is important because a responsibly managed forest can mitigate some of the effects of climate change.

Adam is working with an excavator on the road network. “Access is key for sugaring and tubing maintenance,” Fran notes. Erosion controls will protect our roads and minimize soil loss. After that’s completed, it’s off to do some logging in the bush. Removing diseased trees and competition from around maples will promote maple health which in turn should improve sap production.

While Adam is lugging logs, Doug will be upgrading our tubing system! Any notes of issues during the previous sugaring season are addressed now. Improvements made to the tubing system are completed now to improve the overall sap production next spring.

As for Fran? “I am working with multiple landowners in Northern Vermont. I am basically walking properties and drafting up a forest management plan.” Fran consults for some sugar makers that Butternut Mountain Farm works with each year. “These plans offer thinning suggestions that will make their sugarbush healthier and more productive.”

And it’s not just our crew hanging around the woods this summer. A bear was recently spotted as well as a baby fisher cat! Deer appear regularly and birds and other small animals are spotted on a regular basis.

Keeping our woodlands healthy through every season is, and has always been, a point of passion and thoughtfulness for the crew at Butternut Mountain Farm.