The Branon Family
The Branon family is a 6th generation Vermont Maple Producers and Agricultural based family. Tom and I purchased one of the family farms from Tom's parents in 1984. It was primarily a dairy farm, which had been diversified with a maple sugaring operation. Since 1984 adjoining parcels have been purchased to compliment the existing farm and sugar bush. To date, the operation taps approximately 60,000 taps with additional taps being generated every year on a recently acquired parcel of land in Bakersfield, Vermont.
Here is a picture of some of our immediate family. Tom's mom, Nana sits proudly in the middle with her children, grand children, and great grandchildren surrounding her. This was taken in 2005 at The Branon Family reunion, which happens every 5 years and brings upwards to 300 family members in from all over the country. Nana passed away in 2008 but the family still grows and the stories continue to flourish on how Tom's mother and father raised 10 children and how the 1st and 2nd generation settled in this part of the country.
Our family has grown up since we first started this web site. Where does time go! We continue to have a great time and enjoy the beautiful gift that god gave us! Pure Vermont Maple Syrup and the Green Mountains. As we continue to grow many of the family continues to help in this great tradition of making Maple syrup. We have not convinced Tom's brother Shaun to move back to Fairfield yet but we are still working on it. We figure at some point he will get tired of driving from Rutland to Fairfield and he and his wife Dee will retire to the family farm grounds. Danielle (the 2007 Vermont Maple Queen) and John Luc (the 2009 Vermont Maple King), niece and nephew, still help out in the sugarwoods when time allows along with another nephew Michael James. Our oldest son Kyle has taken on the job of the boiler, engineer, 4 wheeler repair man, and whatever else needs to be fixed person. He is also getting married in July to Loni! Shaun and our good friends George and Berkley help assist Kyle at the task of boiling also.
The sugar house is a very busy place when we begin to boil for the day. With the assistance of "the twins" a pair of new LaPierre 8 membrane Reverse Osmosis Machines we are concentrating sap more efficiently to conserve on fuel and electricity. The Leader evaporator also got a face lift last year when we switched up to a more fuel efficient back pan and steam away and we added the "hulk" a large 20" filter press from CDL Maple Pro to be able to keep up with filtering the syrup.
Everyone must remember though Maple syrup is not made in the sugar house it is made in the woods! It all starts there. So if it wasn't for the fantastic crew we have in the woods that equipment would not be as busy as it is. This year our son Shane has been working on line maintenance, new installation and tapping along with his youngest brother Evan, our good friend Tom Reed and Greg Tracy, Kelsey, Loren and John Luc. It takes many hours of walking and repairing lines in the woods, preparing them for the winter weather and early spring tapping. We also have been blessed to have two great guys helping us out this summer, Matt and Ben, doing the many tasks that setting up new tubing gives us in the woods. We also need to mention the friends that help us tap the trees, folks that come in during the week or on the weekend that we love to work with. Our good friends Dave M, Mo, Jim & Dave. It is all about really enjoying what you do and who you do it with and we couldn't be happier with the team of people that we get to work with! And our very good friend Skip in Bakersfield is still hanging in there with us keeping track of our Bakersfield property and sugarhouse operation. We also press him for his expertise in electrical! Our friends and family all pitch in, in some way during the season. My sisters Claire and Marie help out by making great food during the season to feed our hungry faces. They also help with our open house weekend along with Loni, DeeDee, Dave and Joanne serving visitors with samples of Maple goodies. Justin and Ziggy are in the warm country now but whenever they get back to the east coast they pitch in and help us wherever we need it. Ziggy loves to run in the woods. It really is a team effort and Tom & I continue to appreciate the great team we have.
In 1997, we became Members of the Vermont Land Trust, in which we vowed not to develop 653 acres of land owned in Fairfield. In 2003 Vermont Organic Farmers approved us for Organic Certification on our Vermont Maple Syrup. In 2006, we were happy to add Vermont Maple Cream and Vermont Maple Sugar to the organic line of products. Every year very special things happen here at our sugarhouse. People stop in when we are boiling and get to taste the warm maple syrup hot off the evaporator, or maybe they are coming by for a tour during Maple Open House Weekend; some like to take a walk in the woods to learn more about how maple syrup is made. But the neat thing is we all get to make new friends. It's special, just like all the people that contribute their energy and time to help us make things happen. That is why the word "Family" is so important to our name. It's all about friends, family and a love for making something really special, Vermont Maple Syrup. At the end of the season we all enjoy the Vermont Maple Festival which celebrates the first signature agricultural crop in Vermont. I am very involved in the Vermont Maple Festival year round. It is a time for sugarmakers and visitors to enjoy the warm weather to come and the stories of the season. It also gives us a great opportunity to educate the public about the official flavor of Vermont Maple Syrup. We invite you to visit the Vermont Maple Festival and also to visit us at our sugarhouse and join the family and fun!
We hope to see you this sugaring season,
Tom, Cecile, Kyle & Loni, Shane, Justin and Evan Branon
We hope to see you this sugaring season,
Tom, Cecile, Kyle, Shane, Justin and Evan Branon