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Vermont Maple Ambassadors

Staff

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Allison Hope
Executive Director
802-777-2667

Allison has lived in Vermont most of her life and has been in Westford for the past 20 years. She is active in her community, having served for many years on the School Board, the Library Board, as a Justice of the Peace and currently on the Selectboard. Before VMSMA, she led the Community Engagement Department at Onion River Co-op, which deepened her love of member-driven organizations and Vermont's working landscape. Ever since she learned about sugaring in kindergarten, she's been one of the world's leading individual consumers of Vermont maple, adding it to everything she eats!

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Cory Ayotte
Communications Director
802-786-9437

Cory joined VMSMA in the Fall of 2018. Cory grew up in Londonderry, Vermont and went on to graduate from Plymouth State University with a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies. Prior to joining VMSMA, Cory spent many years in marketing departments at ski resorts across New England, lastly at Sugarbush Resort. Cory jokingly says “I left one sugarbush to go work for all of them.” Outside of the office, Cory can be found exploring Vermont and beyond by snowboard/splitboard, bike, and hiking boots. His newest hobby is making maple syrup with his “very” small backyard evaporator. He resides in Fayston, Vermont with his wife and two small children.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
David Tremblay
Quality Director
802-498-3993

David studied at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst here he received a BS in Plant and Soil Science in 1987.  Prior to joining VMSMA David worked with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in several roles over 27 years before becoming the State Apiarist in 2016.  David has been both a beekeeper and a backyard sugar maker for the last 20 years.  He taps way more trees than recommended on a half pint evaporator and dreams of someday owning a flue pan.  David is also a Justice of the Peace, a volunteer EMT with the Mad River Valley Ambulance Service, and an ultra-endurance cyclist. 

Board of Directors

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Emma Marvin
Chair

Butternut Mountain Farm was started in 1972 as a diversified Vermont hillside farm focused on making maple syrup, raising Christmas trees, and conducting timber stand management. Today, the operation has grown beyond the farm to include 100 employees, maple syrup from more than 300 Vermont farms, and a 75,000 square-foot facility.  As the second generation in the family-owned business, Emma has worked her way up doing whatever was necessary – she currently oversees retail operations, marketing, new business development and sales for the organization.  In 2014 Emma was recognized as Vermont Maple Person of the Year. She currently serves on the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association Board of Directors, the Laraway Youth and Family Services Board and the Friends of Green River Reservoir Board. Emma is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Natural Resource Management. She lives in Hyde Park, Vermont with her husband and two daughters.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Arnie Piper
Vice Chair, Executive Committee, Lamoille County Director
802-760-8213

Arnie has sugared since 2012 with business partner Mike Macy at Umbrella Hill Maple, in Hyde Park.  They have a 10,000 tap operation and boil off a 4 x 14 wood pellet evaporator.  Prior to sugaring Arnie taught at Norwich University and served in the US Army for 26 retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2006.  Arnie is a graduate of Champlain College and St. Michaels College as well as several military schools over the years.  Arnie mostly hikes trails in Vermont and NH but makes an annual trip to the Greater Yellowstone Basin for hiking with old high school buddies.  He is married to his high school sweetheart Beth and they have two grown children, Matt and Kristen.  Arnie lives in Morrisville.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Dave Mance
Secretary, Bennington County Director

Dave began his fascination with sugaring in Kindergarten and like most sugar makers, once hooked, there was no turning back.  He pursued an education (Syracuse College of Forestry) and career in forestry and land surveying, but dedicated early spring to his sugaring hobby.  Mance Maple grew over the years along with Dave’s three sons and his eldest, Dave III is now a partner in their 3,000 tap Shaftsbury operation – a blend of technology, tradition, and family participation.    

Dave has been a VMSMA Director or Alternate for over 30 years, co-chaired two Bennington Co Maplerama’s and served for several years as Vice President of the pre-merged VMSMA.  He is currently the Bennington County Director and VMSMA Secretary.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Dave Folino
Addison County Director

Dave’s sugaring career started poorly. In third or fourth grade, he and his buddies tapped a small grove of trees on the outskirts of Essex Junction. They got no sap. The following year, after learning tree identification, they struck gold and made a canning jar of “almost” syrup. Things have gone uphill from there. Now, Dave and his wife Sue tap 15000+ taps In Starksboro and direct market most of their crop.


Dave graduated from UVM and RPI and spent most of his career in the publishing business. As with many sugarmakers, his sugaring operation expanded and evolved from a simple little hobby into a highly technologically sophisticated business. He still enjoys sugaring as much as he did in fourth grade. He serves on a variety of Agricultural Boards and Committees.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Jason McFarland
Industry Committee Chair, Caledonia County Director
802-473-8088

Jason is the Production Manager at Maple Grove Farms and has been involved in the maple handling and purchasing at Maple Grove since 1993. Jason became involved with the Caledonia Maple Association as a board member around 2014 and the VMSMA shortly after. Outside the office, Jason enjoys hiking, fishing, hunting, and baseball (watching/coaching his son) and just about anything that gets him outside. He resides in Waterford, Vermont

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Paul Palmer
Chittenden County Director

Paul was born and raised in Chittenden County where his love of sugaring began at age 4.  He started his own sugaring operation in Lamoille County while attending Johnson State College where he obtained his degree in mathematics.  He worked as a boat captain, a teacher, and in the software corporate world for 25 years before leaving his desk job to start his family run business, Palmer Lane Maple, in Jericho selling maple candy and ice cream with his wife Colleen and their two daughters.  He has held positions in the Lamoille County Maple Association, has been VT’s delegate to the North American Syrup Council and is currently the President of the Chittenden County Maple Sugar Maker’s Association.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Jason Gagne
Member at Large, Franklin County Director
Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Roger Palmer
Orange County Director

Roger started helping his grandfather with his 360 bucket sugaring operation at the age of 8. When he was 12 years old his family had a dairy farm and 500 bucket sugar bush. In 1969 he partnered with his parents buying a 100 cow dairy farm in Randolph Center. They started sugaring there in the late 1980’s with 5,000 taps on tubing. Roger now has 2,000 taps with help from his grandsons. Roger and his wife Vicki have 2 adult children and 4 grandchildren. Roger has been a member of VMSMA for about 30 years.  He is a past president of VMSMA and past director of IMSMA. Roger has been president of Orange County Maple Producers Association for the last 18 years and a member for 30 years.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Donna Young
Orleans County Director
503-701-5649

Donna was elected Orleans Country Director to VMSMA in 2014. Donna has a BS in Engineering from Cornell University and an MS in Computer Science from Boston University. Donna spent many years working as a Systems Engineer, specializing in automating factories around the world. Since 1987, Donna has enjoyed working with Jim Judd in their sugaring operation, where they produce wood-fired, organic syrup and sugar on 2800 taps. Donna also teaches skiing and snowboarding and enjoys watersports, bicycling and traveling.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Jenna Baird
Rutland County Director

Jenna Baird joined the VSMA board in the spring of 2020. She grew up in North Chittenden, Vermont on a maple and dairy farm that has been in the family for 100+ years. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in social work at UVM, Jenna traveled the country working on organic farms through the WWOOFing Program. In 2015 Jenna and her partner, Jacob, returned to her family's farm to work on the 12,000 tap maple operation. They manage the farm's retail sales and have built a thriving agrotourism and e-commerce business. In addition to maple, Jenna's favorite hobbies include: gardening, flower arranging, photography, hiking, and growing giant pumpkins!  

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
James Buck
Washington County Director

James grew up in Waterbury Ctr., Vermont enjoying time outdoors hunting, fishing, skiing, playing various team sports, and music.  He graduated from engineering school at UVM and works in the renewable energy industry as a design engineer.  James’ sugaring interests began thirty years ago when his family started making syrup in the backyard with a make-shift setup that produced a couple gallons in a good year.  The family operation has grown and relocated but the same love of sugaring continues, especially now with a family of his own.  He lives in Northfield with his wife and son where they manage a 160-acre tree farm.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Ed Smith
Windham County Director
Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Reid Richardson
Windsor County Director

Reid is a fourth-generation hill farmer from Hartland, Vermont.  He and his family have a herd of Jersey cattle, manufacture split rail fencing and produce maple syrup from their 11,600 tap sugarbush.  Reid graduated from UVM in 2001 and spent several years managing a large dairy herd and doing carpentry before returning home in 2005.  Since returning home Reid has helped the sugaring operation double in size, adopt RO technology, high vacuum and most recently wood gasification in their new high efficiency Lapierre evaporator.  Reid serves as a director of the Windsor County Maple Producers Association and has been a VMSMA director since 2017. Outside of sugaring Reid enjoys time with his wife and two daughters, woodturning, and exploring the world off of Hartland Hill.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Arnold Coombs
Industry Director

As a seventh generation sugarmaker, Arnold grew up in the maple business.  The Coombs family had a wholesale maple candy and syrup business, a retail store and a sugarhouse. He was running his own sugaring operation when he was 13.

In 1995 Arnold started his own company, Coombs Family Farms, selling maple into the natural food and bulk markets. Arnold grew CFF, eventually selling it to Bascom Maple Farms of Alstead, NH. He joined Bascom as the Director of Sales and Marketing.

Bascom sells their products across the US and in over 35 countries.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Sam Cutting IV
Industry Director

Sam joined the family business, Dakin Farm in 1980 immediately after graduation from the University of Vermont with a degree in Marketing. In 1993 he became sole owner of the company.

Today, Dakin Farm is a multi-channel, direct to consumer, retailer of Vermont specialty food products. In the spring of 2012 Dakin Farm entered into a collaborative agreement with Cabot Creamery Cooperative to be the direct to consumer link for Cabot specialty cheeses sold on-line, through catalog sales, through fund raising activities and to the corporate market nationwide.

Sam and his wife Nancy live on the farm in Ferrisburgh. They have three daughters: Carolyn a senior at U.V.M., studying business, Emily a teacher in Thailand, and Katie a registered nurse living and working in Salt Lake City, UT. When not working, Sam is an avid skier, hiker and cyclist.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Peter Purinton
Industry Director
802-434-4385

Peter grew up on a dairy farm in Bristol, Vermont and fell in love with maple sugaring. Peter has been a part of the VMSMA since the mid 1970’s. In 1979, Peter began sugaring at the Jacques sugarbush in Huntington, Vermont that he later purchased. Today, Peter manages his sugarbush with his wife Carla, four children, and grandchildren. The Purinton family is one of the largest VMSMA container dealers. Peter also operates a choose and cut Christmas tree farm, and a Leader Evaporator dealership alongside the sugarbush.

Vermont Maple Ambassadors
Mark Isselhardt
UVM Extension Maple Specialist

Mark Isselhardt, University of Vermont Extension Maple Specialist, draws on degrees in forest management and plant biology and twenty-five years of experience in maple to provide research based education on issues from tree to syrup jug. Mark performs original research related to the production of maple syrup. His focus is on issues that are relevant to all producers regardless of the size of operation. Mark works with Vermont's maple producers, sharing research and information to help them ensure long-term tree health, improve management of their sugarbush and increase profitability through higher sap yield, syrup production efficiency and sales. He is based out of the Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill Center, Vermont.

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