The inspiration for The Sugarmaker - Winter 2021 Story Collection is drawn from the maple sugaring traditions of Vermont and the iconic symbols, tools, and products of the sugarmaker. The collection celebrates the sugarmakers tending the tap lines and fires of the sugar harvest, and the candy makers passing down recipes for household favorites from generation to generation.
Vermont Trade Winds Farm's 1790s barn/sugarhouse.
Although many historical maple sugaring traditions have been replaced with modern methods, some sugarmakers continue to carry on the legacy and knowledge passed down to them from prior generations. One such sugarmaker is Tim Hescock of Vermont Trade Winds Farm in Addison County, Vermont. Tim learned how to process maple syrup as a boy from his older brothers and continues the family tradition on his farm in Shoreham, Vermont, which he has run with his wife Loraine for 18 years.
Tim and Loraine run a full maple sugar processing and retail business on the farm, where they make and sell maple syrup, maple candy, and products. They also operate a seasonal Christmas tree farm; recreation area with an ice skating rink, cross country ski trails, maple sugar walking trail and sugarhouse tours; and hold seasonal harvest events each year that educate the public about traditional maple syrup processing methods, recipes, and more.
We sat down with Tim this fall to learn about his family's long tradition of sugaring and the techniques they use. Some notable practices that set Tim and Loraine apart from other sugarmakers include the evaporation techniques they use and many of the traditional maple products they produce. They make all of their products in a historic barn on the farm dating to the 1790s, which they converted into a sugarhouse and retail/syrup tasting room.
Postcard of Tim’s Great Grandfather Henry sugaring at the Hescock farm in Newfane, Vermont.
Tim uses wood-fired evaporators to boil down the Sugar Maple sap into different grades of maple syrup. This practice also requires him to serve as a woodsman for a good part of the year, maintaining and harvesting lumber to fuel the evaporators during the short sugaring season in early spring. When we asked Tim why it was important to him to process syrup according to the traditional way, he talked about the superior flavor the wood-fired evaporators impart on the finished product and his love of the forest and the rhythm of tending the wood fires.
Lorraine is the in-house candymaker and creates and sells small batches of seasonal products according to traditional recipes including: maple candy, maple cream, maple walnuts, and apple cider donuts. They have also created their own products and recipes such as their maple rub (which is amazing on popcorn) and granola.
We so appreciated Tim sharing with us about the history of maple sugaring in Vermont. You can find Vermont Trade Winds Farm and order their products online at: https://vermonttradewinds.com
Tim and Loraine Hescock of Vermont Trade Winds Farm
The Sugarmaker - Winter 2021 Story Collection includes the following four colorways representing the process and tools of the Sugarmaker, including the iconic sights and structures associated with Vermont’s maple sugaring traditions. Each story collection includes four mini skeins (each approx. 25g) of worsted weight, 100% Superwash wool milled in the US. To order the collection, please visit here>> (available on November 19th). The Sugarmaker Story Collection includes the following colors:
||Sugar House - The dark brown, toffee and pale gray of the weathered wood of the sugar house, where maple sap is evaporated into sweet syrup.|
||Tap Lines - The bright sky blue of tap lines snaking through the maple forest in winter, with pale lavender and cerulean undertones.|
||Buffalo Check - This classic cherry red, charcoal gray, and black check is the traditional attire of outdoorsmen and sugarmakers.|
||Vermont Fancy - The pale yellow, amber, and caramel of Vermont’s finest Grade A maple syrup.|
Sources for more information:
- Vermont Trade Winds Farm: https://vermonttradewinds.com/
- Matthew Thomas’ incredible blog on maple syrup history: https://maplesyruphistory.com/2018/08/23/recommended-reads-excellent-sources-on-the-culture-and-history-of-maple-syrup
- The Maple Sugaring Process explained: https://vermontmaple.org/how-maple-syrup-is-made
- University of Vermont, Maple Research Collection: https://www.uvm.edu/cals/proctor-maple-research-center
- American Dialect Society article on maple syrup dialect, 1947: https://maplesyruphistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Publication-of-the-American-Dialect-Society-1947-vol-8-no-1-p3%E2%80%9310.pdf
Cover image courtesy of: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress), 1940. Article images courtesy of: Gretchen Boyce, Christy Lombardo, Vermont Trade Winds Farm, and University of Vermont Special Collections.
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