Syrup tour2Part of representing the Vermontville community as Maple Syrup Festival Queen is possessing an understanding of the Maple Syrup process. The 2015 court had the opportunity to see first-hand how one local producer gets the job done year after year.
Haigh’s Maple Syrup & Supplies, LLC hosted Queen Zandra Siple and her entire court — Jeannie Hale, Britney Flory, Meghan Bignall and Catie Eldridge — Monday, Feb. 16 for a tour of the entire operation. Not only a maple syrup producer, Karen Haigh guided the court through the entire supplies side of the business, which services upwards of 850 customers.
“Because we have the supply business, I thought they could see some of the equipment, learn more about prices as well as the syrup making process,” said Haigh, who owns and operates the business with her husband, Larry. “I thought it could help them represent the community and producers in a positive manner.”
Karen has offered tours to the Queen’s court the past five years when she realized the girls needed a little more education about the syrup making process.
“Years ago, Mrs. Gearhart would always show the Queens how syrup was made and give them a treat,” Haigh said. “No one had taken on that responsibility since she had passed away, which has been a while ago now.”
Haigh showed the court all of the supplies the business keeps on hand, including evaporators, which can cost a producer more $1,000 to purchase new. The Court was also surprised to learn that several tools used to collect sap can cost a couple hundred dollars.
“Even if they have visited neighbors that make syrup, they don’t see the choices an individual producer has and really no clue what equipment can cost a producer,” Haigh said. “It reinforces to them, when people complain that syrup is so expensive, the kind of investment a producer has to make and convey that.”
The tour continued to the Haigh’s own evaporator, which is used each season to produce maple syrup for four to six local producers. Haigh said their operation produces 400 to 500 gallons of maple syrup in a good year. The tour ended with the Queen and court sampling maple syrup candy and enjoying maple syrup hot dogs, kettle corn and cotton candy.
The 75th Annual Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival will be held Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26. For more information, visit