Welcome to the Sugar Farm

Huntington, Vermont

Our Story

Couching Lion Maple Sugar farm is located on the Western facing slope of the Green Mountains. When hiking to the top of our sugarbush, you have a spectacular view of Camel’s Hump, or as explorer Samuel de Champlain called it, “Le Lion Couchant,” or Couching Lion.

The Couching Lion as seen from the top of the sugarbush on a warm March day.

The Property

Jack and Jane Handy

Chaska’s grandparents, Jack and Jane Handy, moved to Huntington in 1975. They fell in love with a piece of land at the end of a long, barely passable, dirt road. Family members recall thinking this was a crazy endeavor for two people looking for a place to retire! Jack and Jane would not be dissuaded. They created a beautiful place for family to gather and taught their grandchildren the importance of environmental practices and forest stewardship. Their greatest desire was that the property would be forever protected and loved by their descendents. While many family members enjoy visiting Huntington to hike or ski on the trails, Chaska and Matt chose to make this place their home and continue stewardship of the forest and fields.

In the 1800s much of the property had been cleared for sheep farming and later used for cattle. Within the last 75 years, forest has replaced much of the open land,old stone walls run throughout and remind us of the rich farming history.  The sugarbush has remained forested for 120 years. The sugar maples comprise 58 acres within a 162 acre forest. Remnants of two separate sugaring operations exist in the forest. There is an evaporator and sugarhouse from the 1950’s as well as the ruins of a much older brick arch dating back at least 100 years. The forest is sustainably managed and enrolled in Vermont’s Current Use Program. The forestry management plan has maintained the old sugarbush, as the Handys always hoped it would be used again.

Who We Are

Matt Menard and Chaska Richardson

Matt Menard and Chaska Richardson moved to Huntington in 2002. Matt built their home near Jane and Jack’s house, and the family enjoyed many years of living together. Matt’s family had sugared for many generations, and he hoped to begin the profession as well. With a full time job as a carpenter, Matt started sugaring on a small scale with buckets. He built a barrel stove and began making small batches of wood fired syrup. By 2012, the desire to sugar on a larger scale had taken hold. Matt built a sugarhouse and began tapping trees in the old sugarbush. Lines were installed and Couching Lion Maple Sugar Farm was born. Chaska began to manage the sales aspect of the operation and found a passion for business. Chaska also keeps busy during her day job as a teacher in Burlington elementary schools.

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