ENOSBURG, Vt.—Service and family are the running themes at Rick’s Sugarhouse in Enosburg, Vt.
“You get that bug and it keeps growing and growing,” said Rick Hoburn who runs the operation with son, Richard, daughter, Autumn and cousin Donny Teague.
Hoburn started sugaring with just 25 buckets and a 4x4 pan but now the operation is one of the biggest in Vermont, aiming to have 50,000 taps in for this coming season and a potential to grow it to 80,000.
Hoburn, a cancer survivor who also battles the effects of Lyme disease, bought the 700 acres of sugarbush three years ago and broke ground on the massive sugarhouse in April 2020 during the peak of Covid.
In just six months, the sugarhouse was up and ready for boiling.
The woods were mostly tapped too, with help from neighbors like sugarmaker J.R. Sloan and Tom Patterson of CDL.
Sloan was the one who tipped off Hoburn that the property was available.
“The trees are big and it’s just a beautiful lot,” Hoburn said. “It was pretty much untouched.”
They calculated the property had 73 taps per acre.
Meanwhile, Richard Hoburn has been flying back and forth from his home in Bakersfield, Calif. back to Vermont to sugar with the family for four or five months of the year.
Richard served our country with great honor, fighting in Afghanistan as an infantryman.
His wife and two young children remain in California for the time being, he said, while he continues his 3,000 commute to work.
“People ask us all the time how were are able to manage all of this, and I guess you can say it’s because were Vermonters and also we’ve had a lot of people come and help us,” Hoburn said. “Sugarmakers are all like that. They want to help and share information.”