Tucked into the rolling hills of central Vermont is a picture-perfect farm with a herd of caramel-colored Jersey cows, beautiful wooden barns and a sugarhouse with artfully piled firewood. Along with their dad, Gordon, Scott Richardson and his younger brother Reid now run the farm their great-grandparents bought over a century ago. That two of his three sons have chosen to stay in farming matters immensely to Gordon. “Growing up I didn’t think about it that much,” reflects Scott, “but I’ve always I liked the animals, working with my hands, working outdoors in the changing seasons.”
The Richardsons manage their woodlands carefully and sustainably for maple sugaring and for the firewood they use to boil the sap into sweet syrup. They also produce split-rail fencing using native wood and sell it around the Northeast. One high-profile customer is neighbor and fellow Cabot co-operative member, the historic Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock. Their land also includes Garvin Hill, the highest point in Hartland, which is open to the local community for hiking.
Like many sugar makers, the Richardsons sweeten their coffee with a spoonful of syrup instead of sugar and swirl in some of their rich Jersey cream. They even market a clever squeeze bottle of syrup that takes the mess out of maple.