The Putnam Family Farm was purchased by Joel and Esther Putnam in 1854, and has been producing maple syrup since about 1863. In the early days, the sugarbush consisted of about 1000 taps. Sap was collected in wooden buckets and gathered by horse-drawn wooden tubs. The sap was boiled in flat-bottom metal pans on two stone arches. By the turn of the century, the sugarbush had grown to 3000 taps. Wooden buckets were replaced by metal buckets, and the stone arches were replaced by a single metal arch. In that era, there was little market for liquid maple syrup. Most of the crop was sold as maple sugar @ 10 cents per pound in five and ten pound tin cans.
A new sugarhouse was built in 1936, the old one having stood the test of time for nearly 75 years. Tractors began to replace horses for gathering sap in the 1950s and 1960s. Otherwise, sugaring at the Putnam Family Farm continued largely unchanged until August 1968 when the sugarhouse burned. A small replacement sugarhouse was built and only enough syrup for family use was produced from 1969 to 1976.
In 1976 another sugarhouse was built which served us well until it was retired in 2002.
Bill & Donna Putnam, the current operators, are proud to be the 5th generation to carry on the tradition. Plastic tubing and a modern vacuum system for our 2900 taps have replaced the buckets and tractor drawn gathering tanks.
Our completely new sugarhouse still features a wood fired evaporator but also utilizes a reverse osmosis process to reduce the wood needed and the time required to boil the sap into the great tasting syrup that we produce. Click here for some pictures of our new sugarhouse.
We invite you to stop in at the Putnam Family Farm and sugarhouse when you are in the area. The farm is located on VT-15, two miles west of Cambridge village. Smugglers Notch Ski Area is about 10 miles from the farm, and other ski areas are also nearby. So, if you are in the area for spring skiing, look for steam from the sugarhouse on your way by!
If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact us. If your interest is Putnam genealogy, click here for more information.
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