Shumlin bullish on state's future

Posted
Saturday November 26, 2011

PUTNEY -- The grand opening of the Hidden Springs Maple on Nov. 25 featured a variety of maple syrup from local producers, a live band and a special treat as Governor Peter Shumlin was present to support local business.

"This is one of many examples across the state of why, if we diversify our cultural face, and continue to promote farm decor and help producers market directly to consumers, we've got a bright agricultural future," said Shumlin.

He said the family-owned Hidden Springs maple sugar company is one of the reasons he is so optimistic about Vermont's future. Shumlin said it's an example of how local kids can make a good living in Vermont and do great things.

"Now we have one of the largest sugar operations in Vermont," he said.

Shumlin said shopping locally is helping Vermont's economy.

"Suddenly, America is waking up. People from all walks of life suddenly care where their food comes from, who grows it, and what's in it," he said. "I think our best agricultural days are ahead of us."

Peter Cooper-Ellis, owner of Hidden Springs Maple, said the company uses tree-to-tree tubing along with some new techniques to get better production. If they don't diversify and use new techniques, they may not be able to produce half their syrup.

He said to have a record production of maple syrup, they had to produce more than 10,000 gallons of syrup with the average being only about 7,000 gallons.

"If the weather co-operates, I predict we will have another record-breaking crop this year," said Cooper-Ellis.

There are around a dozen maple sugar producers in the area, and he said they buy syrup from all of them. Cooper-Ellis said some local producers make 4,000 gallons, with the largest producer making 11,000 gallons of syrup.

He said Hidden Springs is able to tap 25,000 trees a year and they will make a profit if they produce anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 gallons of syrup.

It's critically important to shop local, said Cooper-Ellis, adding that there were about five local syrup producers selling their products at the grand opening.

Cooper-Ellis said the company shipped about $75,000 worth of syrup over the Internet this year.

Catherine Cooper-Ellis, the owner's sister, said they ship maple sugar to people all over the world. including Alaska, Spain, and to service people.

"A lot of people want to get a hint of Vermont out there," she said.

To find out how to get maple syrup shipped, visit the Hidden Springs Maple website at: www.hiddenspringsmaple.com.

Carter Vanderhoof can be reached at cvanderhoof@reformer.com or 802-254-2311 ext. 277.


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