Maple Corner Farm
Published in CISA’s January 2010 Enewsletter.
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Owned and operated by Leon and Joyce Ripley on 500 acres, Maple Corner Farm has been in their family since 1812. Leon and Joyce’s two granddaughters are the 8th generation on the farm! Skiers can choose from roughly 20 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails, at elevations reaching 1,400 feet. During sugaring season, you can combine skiing with a meal at the family’s pancake house, which is open from mid February until mid April. Leon, Joyce, and their three sons tap 36,000 trees, producing an average of 800 gallons each season. Leon estimates that 20% of the syrup is sold wholesale, and the remainder is sold at the farm, bottled, creamed, candied or eaten at the restaurant.
In addition to the sugaring operation, the Ripleys have three acres of pick-your-own blueberries, make jams, jellies, and maple candy, and sell 10,000 to 12,000 bales of hay each year. Leon’s favorite part of the farm business is the forest management. His passion was rewarded with the Massachusetts Tree Farmer of the Year award in 2000, but has been tested over the last year as the family worked to clean up the sugarbush and ski trails after the ice storm of December 2008. The storm, described by Leon as the worst of his life, brought heavy coatings of ice and high winds, leading to many toppled trees and branches. Cleaning the ski trails and sugar bush has been a top priority during this past year, and although the sugar bush is still recovering, all the ski trails have been maintained and are ready for this year’s season. But don’t worry, there will still be plenty of syrup to pour atop your pancakes!