Scott Dunn is someone that you would consider to have maple syrup in his blood. Together Scott and Erin with their daughters Bridget, Brooke, and dog Brix work tirelessly to make some of the finest Maple Syrup and Maple Products money can buy. This would not be possible with out the extensive network of friends and family that truly bring the “family” in Dunn Family Maple to light. We consider each and every one of our sugaring friends to be our family and could not do it with out them.
Our story with maple syrup is now in its fifth generation. Starting with with Scott’s great grandfather using buckets and boiling over an open fire. The tradition was passed down to Scott’s grandmother and mother in Vermont. After moving back to Vermont at the age of two Scott’s great grandfather gave the family, ten galvanized buckets and a skimmer that he had used to make syrup. Boiling with a pot over an open fire, and a stick holding a coffee can with a hole in the bottom to control the flow of raw sap into the pot, the tradition continued. Boiling over the open fire proved to be a great way to spend weekends with the family however, not efficient and made some very dark syrup.
Soon there was a sugar house up the road that was making syrup on a large wood fired evaporator using tubing lines and buckets. Over time Larry and Loretta Wright became family friends and evenings were spent in Wrights Sap Shack helping gather sap, boiling and most importantly, tasting the liquid gold. Sugar and snow and hot syrup were always a favorite treat. Scott would gather all the sap at their house with his great grandfathers buckets after school and save it for the Wrights to come get. When school would get out Scott would hike up the hill help Larry, gathering what seamed like 200 buckets with the bulldozer. Going from tree to tree gathering the sweet sap in pails before dumping the pails into the tanks. Helping Larry boil until dinner time, then hiking back down the hill to get home. Scott would pray every day for cold nights and warm days to be able to gather and boil sap with the Wrights.
Fast forward to 2013. Scott Erin and Bridget were ice fishing with friends when one of them was talking about making syrup. Well that prompted Scott to walk the property at home looking for maple trees, designing a sugar house, and price all the equipment that he would need. After selling the project to Erin as a sugar house/woodshed/garage for the 4 wheeler, the materials were ordered. With the help of many friends the sugar house was built.
2014 was our first year boiling and we started with 120 taps on short runs of tubing and Scott’s Great Grandfather’s buckets. Boiling on a used 2X4 raised flu G.H. Grimm evaporator we made 16 gallons of syrup.
The next summer we built the wood shed on the sugar house and added a vacuum system at our home woods. The 2015 season produced 56 gallons with the vacuum system upgrades on 150 taps. The summer of 2015 we built a new 2X6 evaporator that increased our boil rate from 20 gallons a hour to 60-70.
The 2016 season produced 75 gallons of syrup. After the 2016 season and not having enough syrup for our growing customer base we set out looking for new taps. We were able to find a sugar bush three miles from home that had previously been tapped with tubing still in the air (kind of). After working with the previous sugar maker and the land owner we were able to secure the new sugar bush for our use. With the increased taps we were forced to make several large upgrades to our sugar house and in the woods. We added a 16X16 addition on the sugar house, purchased a reverse osmosis system, added several new tanks, and made several upgrades to the new sugar bush. The upgrades were finished just in time to tap as the sap started running in February. With a total of 1500 taps we set out on a mission to make 400 gallons of syrup. Falling short we made 196 gallons of syrup in the spring of 2017.
2018 was a new best for syrup production. We made changes to some of our tubing systems that increased our sap production from the trees. From 18,560 gallons of sap we produced 276.5 gallons of syrup. With our goal of 400 gallons of syrup we know we need to make some changes in the woods to increase our sap production. We changed thousands of feet of tubing, upgrading our vacuum pump and changed our raw sap tank to to a new to us, stainless steel tank.
2020 started with several upgrades in the woods and in the sugar house. We installed a new 900 gallon stainless steel permeate water storage tank in the sugar house. This new tank decreased our storage compacity but, freed up square footage in the sugar house and allowed for easier cleaning. We also added new taps in standish with a solar vacuum system increasing our total taps to to 1563 for the 2020 season. As every one knows 2020 was the year for COVID-19 and everything that came with it. Maine Maple Sunday Weekend had to be cancelled, but syrup production carried on. Sugar content in the sap was some of the lowest that we have experienced. We did have a record year with 26,800 gallons of sap, making 345 gallons of syrup.
Improvements every year to increase efficiency and production numbers, while producing a high quality product are our number one priority.