|“Am I not a sugar maple man, then? Boil down the sweet sap which the spring causes to flow within you. Stop not at syrup, - go on to sugar, Through you present the world with but a single crystal…”
- Henry David Thoreau
|Before there was Butternut Mountain Farm there were Marvins in Maple…|
In the 1940’s James Wallace Marvin began conducting research on maple at the University of Vermont. In 1943, he and fellow researcher, Fred Taylor set out to find a permanent location to conduct their research and in 1946 with the donation of land in Underhill, UVM’s Proctor Maple Research Center was established.
Dr. Marvin’s research career was dedicated to understanding the sap flow mechanism from a physiological perspective. His research lead to understanding how to make tubing and vacuum systems, now so commonly in use, work.
He also loved to share his work and knowledge personally, so he addressed countless maple groups in addition to publishing widely. One great example of how James W. Marvin shared his work with a wide audience is a 1956 article he authored for Vermont Life Magazine “Taming the Wild Maple: UVM’s experimental farm at Underhill probes the chemistry of the sugar maple and points the way to making even finer maple syrup.” In addition to his research contributions to the maple industry he was also founder and early chair of the Vermont Maple Industry Council.
In 1953, Dr. Marvin decided to purchase land located on the slopes of Butternut Mountain in Johnson, Vermont. The land included a high quality sugarbush and several old homesteads, and also had a history of sugaring dating back to the 1800’s. At about the same time he decided to help his young son, David set up a sugaring operation with a dozen or so taps and a home-made evaporator in the front yard of their home near Burlington. And, with that Dr. Marvin had sowed the seeds that would become Butternut Mountain Farm.