Governor Phil Scott officially kicked off Vermont’s maple season today at Silloway Maple in Randolph Center. The Governor joined the Silloway family, Ag Secretary Anson Tebbetts, members of the Randolph Center community, and the Orange County Sugarmakers to tap a tree and celebrate the importance of the maple industry to Vermont’s economy, landscape, and heritage.
Vermont makes more maple syrup than any state in the country – a whopping 47.3% of all the maple syrup in the nation comes from Vermont! The 2016 maple season was Vermont’s best yet, with a total of 1.99 million gallons of syrup produced. That’s 4.85 million taps!
“It’s no secret that Vermont’s maple syrup is world-famous. It’s an important part of our brand and economy, and it draws tourists to Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “I could not be more proud of our maple industry. The hard work and ingenuity of those who support the industry represents what Vermont is all about.”
The sun was shining and the sap was running as the Silloways hosted a fun-filled event for the whole community. They opened their sugaring operation to the public for a day of tours, tastings, and fun.
The maple business is a family affair for the Silloways. In 1940, Paul and Louise Silloway began their dairy operation in Randolph Center as newlyweds, and soon after, began tapping trees. Today, the dairy and maple tradition lives on through their children and grandchildren. Grandsons Paul and David Lambert run the sugaring operation, while another grandson, John, keeps the dairy tradition alive.
“Maple and dairy - it does not get more Vermont than this,” said Ag Secretary, Anson Tebbetts. “This family business is creating opportunities in the community, and providing the next generation with a chance to stay on the land and make a living. Truly wonderful!”
Silloway Maple holds tradition close, while also embracing innovation. In 2014, a new sugarhouse was designed and built, set facing the south, with a narrow northern roof, and a large southern exposure to accommodate seventy solar panels. Even a cold day, the system can output just over 15,000 watts, according to the Silloways. Averaging throughout the year, this energy supplies the sugarhouse, and also about half of the power used on the family dairy farm, just down the road.
Of course, no maple event would be complete without some authentic maple cooking. The Orange County Sugarmakers offered a delicious, maple-inspired lunch for guests to enjoy, and the Silloways served sugar on snow. As a special treat, the Silloways sorganized a maple cooking contest, and encouraged members of the community to enter. Students from NECI judged the competition, and after much deliberation, choose Barbara Warren’s Maple Angel Food Cake as the winner in the adult competition. Joey Ferris took top honors in the kid competition with his Maple Snickerdoodles.
“Of course, my family members have many wonderful maple recipes,” said host Bette Lambert, daughter of the founders, Paul and Louise Silloway. “But we thought we’d give the rest of the community a chance,” she added, with a smile. Bette was at the helm of the event today, serving as the main organizer among a large crew of Silloways and Lamberts.
“Thank you, Silloway family, for hosting this terrific event,” said Governor Scott. “And thank you to all Vermont sugarmakers, for creating jobs, keeping our landscape in production, building the Vermont brand, and making the very best syrup in the world!”