In the Sugarhouse

In the Sugarhouse

In the far northwestern Vermont town of Enosburg Falls, Dave and Jess Gaudette, with the help of their friend Ed Lidster, run Gaudette Maple. What began in 1988 as a low-tech sugaring operation of buckets and horses, has become a heftier production of 4,500 taps on vacuum lines, webbing 110 acres of land. Photographer, James Chandler spent the day with his uncle Ed and the Gaudettes, documenting the process.  

Ed Lidster at Gaudette Maple.

Ed Lidster at Gaudette Maple.

 They try to maintain 26-27 inches of mercury of pressure in the lines and often go out to check for leaks.

Ed among the stacks.

Ed among the stacks.

The evaporator is wood fired and uses about 30 cords of wood each year. 

Ed loads the filter pads into in the pressurized filter system. This is the last step in the process before the syrup flows into the barrels. 

Ed and Dave at work in the sugarhouse.

Ed and Dave at work in the sugarhouse.

Gaudette Maple produces barrels of syrup and does not bottle their own, except for about 100 gallons that Jess Gaudette sells at her kitchen supply store in St. Albans. 

Last year was their best year to date, with a production yielding 60, 40-gallon barrels of syrup—that's 2400 gallons, in total.

The sugarhouse at night.

The sugarhouse at night.

This year, they already have boiled more than 15,000 gallons of sap.  There's a lot of ground water in the system, so it could shape up to be another phenomenal year.  Now it just depends on temperature.

From left to right: Jess Gaudette, Ed Lidster and Dave Gaudette.

From left to right: Jess Gaudette, Ed Lidster and Dave Gaudette.

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