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Girard’s Sugarhouse in Heath, MA.  The sugarhouse was built in 1887 and produces around 250-300 gallons of syrup annually.  Photo by Michael Girard

March’s contest winner was Michael Girard who photographed his family’s sugarhouse in Heath.

Michael Girard has been a sugarmaker since 1961 when he started his family dairy farm in Simsbury, Connecticut. He and his family have been sugaring in Heath since 1977 and  have 1,000 taps up on the hill behind the sugarhouse all on tubing. The sugarhouse was built in 1887 and in many ways looks as it did back then with the exception of the equipment they use today.

Sugaring is a Girard family tradition , beginning with sugaring in Valcourt and Beauceville, Quebec many years ago. Today, as it has always been, Girard’s Sugarhouse is a family operation, with Michael’s son, Mike managing much of the sugaring operation and continuing the maple sugaring family tradition.

Girard’s sugarhouse produces around 250-300 gallons of syrup annually and their syrup has received numerous recognitions locally, regionally and internationally over the past 38 years.  They are certified Tree Farm and have maintained their woodlands primarily for maple syrup production.

Girard’s Sugarhouse is a member of the Massachusetts Maple Syrup Producers Association and the Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut. Michael presently serves as the Executive Director of the North American Maple Syrup Council. In 2012, he was inducted into the Maple Hall of Fame in Croghan, New York.

Each month, we are posting the 2015 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar’s photo of the month. The calendar features a winning photo of Bay State farming as well as interesting facts about local agriculture. The 2015 Celebrating the Seasons of Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar is available for purchase. All photos were taken by amateur photographers who won the annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Proceeds from the $10 calendars benefit Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, a small, private non-profit organization that has been working since 1983 to provide agricultural education and training.

Written By:


DAR Program Coordinator

With a background in the culinary arts, nutrition education and program development, Julia joined The Department of Agricultural Resources Division of Agricultural Markets in 2008 to help spread the word about Massachusetts’ incredible agricultural and culinary opportunities. She also coordinates several grant and marketing programs available to a diversified group of growers and agricultural associations across the Commonwealth. A Boston University graduate, she can be found in her spare time sourcing out the best local products for her next culinary creation or volunteering in the community.

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