Back in 1990, sap boiling was started in David's farmhouse garage, and a springtime tradition was born. As time passed on, and the operation grew, family and friends came together to build what is now the current sap house. In the height of those days, 500 buckets were used to collect sap in the farm's maple orchards. Trees were tapped along the farm road and even off-site at friend's properties. Many long nights were spent around the steaming evaporator with plenty of good company and endless stories. Just like the weather changes, so did the seasons and the number of taps. Now in our 33rd year, with a few that didn't pan out, a new seventh generation is lending a helping hand and are interested in the process of making maple syrup. This year marks our second year of tubing to collect the maple sap. The efficiency that the tubing operation provides, is an amazing benefit to a busy family farm. The tree now has a smaller tap which provides for better overall sugar bush health. Without the many helping hands from family and friends the sap season wouldn't be possible. As well as the many folks that support us by buying our maple products. The tradition of coming together and celebrating the season is still alive and well at Highland Farms.
Stop by for a visit sometime
Thank you all for your support
Highland Farms is located atop the scenic Towles Hill in Cornish, Maine, in the southwestern part of the state. Three generations of family the; Pike, Palmer and Bleakney work on Highland Farms, where their ancestors started one of the nation’s first and oldest registered Jersey herds back in 1886.
Genetics from Highland Farms can be found in Jersey herds across the globe, through descendants of one of the farm's initial purchases, Perty W. 41721, and the bull Highland Magic Duncan as well as his son, Highland Duncan Lester.
Highland Farms milks 260 cows and raises 240 replacement heifers. The farm is situated on 1,200 acres and rents another 100 acres. About 180 acres are planted with corn for silage and 150 acres with grass for hay and silage. About 1,000 acres of the farm is woodland and is sustainably managed by the Highland Farms Logging Crew. Within that woodland many acres of diverse age sugar maples grow strong and healthy. Currently the active sugar bush is around 5 acres on the southwestern side of Towles Hill. There you will find a small-scale sustainable, low impact tubing system using natural gravity and producing pure maple sap.
With the seventh generation now toddling around the award-winning farm, farmer (and grandmother) Libby Bleakney says, “You work to hopefully improve the farm a little every day to make it better for the next generation. We try to produce the best quality product for the consumer, take care of our animals the best we can and do all that we can to protect the land, soil and water.”
The Last Bucket
2018 marked an era gone by. The final season for going tree to tree removing the lid and bucket then carefully hiking back to the larger gathering tank. Over and over again. Sometimes not so gracefully. The nostalgia of a bucket hanging from a mighty sugar maple will for ever live on. Here's a short tribute.