On March 9, 2022

The weather is sweet for local sugarmakers

By Victoria Gaither

The start of the sugaring season in Central Vermont never gets old for locals.

In fact, for Rutland residents Art and Cindy Trevino, warmer temperatures and the end of February is the time to pull out the buckets, lids, drill, hammer, hooks, and spile.

“I love sugaring because it gives us something to look forward to at the end of a long Vermont winter,” Cindy Trevino said.

Relative to most Vermont sugarers, the Trevinos are newbies.

“It’s our third year. It’s easier than I thought it would be because we read a lot before it started, and we thought there was no way we could do it, but we figured it out,” said Cindy, a special educator at Rutland High School.

While Art enjoys tapping the trees in his backyard, it’s when the sap runs get boiled, and he gets to use the finished maple syrup on his food, that really makes it all worthwhile.

“We do a lot with good old maple, and we cook with maple; every morning, I have my oatmeal, and I put my maple in it,” said the retired teacher.

With over 200 cookbooks at his home, Art substitutes maple syrup for molasses, honey, or anything sweet.

He also enjoys sharing his maple syrup with family and friends, sending it all over America.

In North Chittenden, Denise and Bryan Cupoli share the love and passion of sugaring with their two girls, Grayson and Adeline.

“Sugaring is a way to connect and teach this value, plus we get a delicious sweet harvest to enjoy at the end. It’s also a time for us to come together as a family and slow down after a busy winter of activities,” Denise Cupoli said.

Although a valuable education for Grayson, it’s all about the tasting according to her. “I like it because I get to spend time with my family, plus I get to taste the sap,” Grayson said in an interview with her mom.

The Cupoli family has been sugaring for five years, a tradition no doubt Grayson and Adeline will carry onto the next.

For the Baird Farm in Chittenden, sugaring is a long family tradition and it still makes Jenna Baird smile when maple season hits the calendar.

“We usually start tapping around mid-January, and then it usually takes us around a month or so depending on the walking conditions out in the woods,” said Baird.

Baird and her partner Jacob Powsner run the retail business of the maple-producing farm while her parents, Bonnie and Bob Baird own and run the farm’s operations.

The farm is located on 560 acres and dates back to 1918. When asked if she still gets excited about sugaring, she said the end result is always sweet. “It’s most exciting when the sap starts to run and on the first day when the big tanks are starting to fill up with sap,” Baird said. “You have been tapping trees for a month and see all that energy you put into it just pays off.”

The retail side of the business has gotten so busy they hired a new employee, Brit Davis, who tapped trees this season and helps in the store.

Baird said last year’s maple season was bad overall, but she is an optimist for this season.

“It’s very weather dependent, but it is what it is, and we always try to be optimistic,” she said.

The Baird Farm is part of the maple open house weekend March 26-27 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. after covid sidelined the event for two years.

“We want everyone to come out and enjoy themselves,” Baird said. “We will have vendors and activities. It’s sweet.”

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