A 96-acre sugarbush on Garvin Hill in Hartland has been permanently protected. The property, owned by the Richardson family since 1942, serves important dual farm purposes as both managed sugarbush and summer pasture for the Richardson Family Farm. The protection of the property is part of an overall plan to facilitate the transfer of the farm between the third and fourth generations of Richardson farmers.
The Richardsonâ€™s farm operation is thriving due to a diversified agricultural business centered on their award winning dairy operation which is bolstered by a strong maple sugaring operation and a split rail fence business. The farmâ€™s sugaring business yields more than 4000 gallons in good years and the Garvin Hill property supports a significant portion of this operation. Syrup is sold in bulk to larger institutions and wholesale to retail stores, as well as to retail buyers at the farm.
Garvin Hill, a long-time conservation priority for the Town of Hartland, is the highest point in town (1812 feet) and can be seen for miles around. The Richardsons sold a conservation easement to the Upper Valley Land Trust for an amount below the market value to enable this project to succeed. Funding to support the project came from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Town of Hartland, an advised fund at the Vermont Community Foundation, and generous community members.