|“There is a human and poetic quality in maples, which is easily felt, and though the land would be worth more for its lumber than for its sugar, many farmers would no more part with their maple bush or orchard than with any precious heirloom.”
- Anonymous, “The Green Mountains in Sugar Time,” Harpers, April, 1881
|The Beginning of Butternut Mountain Farm…|
In 1973 the outlook for making maple syrup as a full time livelihood was grim. It was a hobby for some, an activity of old timers and no way to make a living (today maple syrup production is a bright spot for agriculture in Vermont). In spite of the poor initial outlook, David Marvin was determined to develop a farm based around his love of maple.
During his college years, David had worked for the University of Vermont’s maple research program. Then, for two years after college, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service’s maple economics research unit, while starting the Christmas tree plantations at Butternut Mountain Farm. By the spring of 1973 he’d finished the initial equipment installation and produced his first crop of syrup on the Mountain. In addition to these on farm enterprises David also established Marvin Associates, a forestry-consulting firm dedicated to providing forest management and planning services to landowners in Northern Vermont.
The diversity of the farm has always been an essential part of the business’ success. As was noted in a 1984 Vermont Life Article – “David Marvin’s Winning Way With Trees:”
“…Marvin has gradually spun a delicately balanced web of income-producing forest products into a award winning way of life…The diversity is basic to Butternut Mountain Farm’s success.”
In 1983 David and his wife Lucy were recognized for the Farm’s success as Vermont Tree Farm of the Year and in 1984, they were selected as National Tree Farm of the Year by the American Forest Institute.
In 1986 David and Lucy decided to further diversify Butternut Mountain Farm with the purchase of a small building in the Village of Johnson next to the Johnson Woolen Mill. With minor modifications, the addition of a wood burning stove, shelving and a cash register – this building became Marvin’s Country Store. The store was, and still is, an opportunity for Butternut Mountain Farm to showcase it’s products, keep a pulse on the consumer and gain a better understanding of what our customers are experiencing.
Very little has changed at the store since it was first opened. We still focus on selling our products, other items made with our products, Vermont specialty foods and gifts. In addition the Store has also always sold maple sugaring supplies and equipment to local maple producers. Providing Butternut Mountain Farm an additional connection to the local community and the maple industry.