I’ve enjoyed the articles and photos covering our local maple-sugaring enthusiasts these last two weeks in the Press, and thought I should keep you informed of another: myself. It’s my sixth year, and like others, I’ve learned a lot from Jim Burns. He’s a patient and willing mentor. Like Jim, this is a sideline to my full-time job, and it keeps me quite busy this time of year. My “sugar bush,” the term describing the set of trees we tap, has grown to roughly half the size of Jim’s, as several neighbors agreed to let me tap their trees. The hobby has been fun and a little addictive. I started very small, with 10 trees on our property, and now have 150 taps. I make enough each season to sell a portion and help cover some of the costs, but we give a lot away to friends and family as gifts.
The hobby has been a great way to get to know some of our neighbors, as I’ve noticed sugar maples on their properties and inquired about tapping for them. They get some free maple syrup in the bargain. Some had tapped the same trees years ago with their kids and are happy to see it going on once again. Almost all the trees are located near the intersection of Warren Avenue and Tahanto Trail (you can see the colored plastic tubing just off the road as you drive by), hence my maple brand name Wartah Maple, which I use to label the product. It’s currently sold at the Fruitlands gift shop, and by word of mouth.
I offer tours to neighbors, customers, and local schools. I had an elementary school class lined up to tour a year ago when COVID-19 hit and we had to cancel. I would be glad to have you visit and show you around—the season appears to be ending soon with warming temperatures this week, but as we know, Mother Nature can be fickle when it comes to weather.
Tom Gormley, Wartah Maple Farm