GILFORD — The Mary Butler Chapter of DAR met Monday, June 17 at Gilford Community Church. Hostesses for the meeting were Marian Ekholm and Denny Stringfellow. Guest speaker was Ernie Bolduc of Bolduc Farm in Gilford. He spoke on the History of Maple Sugaring at Bolduc Farm.
The Bolduc Farm sugar bush is the oldest in continuous maple sugaring operation in the country. Maple sugar or syrup has been produced at the Bolduc Farm on Morrill Street in Gilford continuously since the late 1700's. The property was originally owned by the Jewett Family which was quite prominent in the area. They owned a tavern, a country store, and a farm. Benjamin Jewett, Esq. was also a Postmaster, a Justice of the Peace, and very involved in early town affairs. The Jewett's began maple sugaring sometime around 1779. In a diary from that year Benjamin Jewett states that "several pounds of maple sugar were produced."
The Gideon Bolduc family eventually purchased the property. Mr. Bolduc purchased the present evaporator, pans, sap buckets and spiles (wooden pegs for drawing off maple sap) in 1924. The evaporator is believed to be from the 1870's and, after reconditioning, is still being used today. In the 1950's many old maples on the property came down to make way for a by-pass that went through the center of the maple orchard. There were, however, enough of the trees left for a limited degree of sugaring so not one year has gone by without maple sugar being produced at Bolduc Farm. Advanced technology has come to maple sugaring. Tubing now runs criss-cross among the maple trees and into the newer lower sap house collecting tank. But many trees are still hung with sap buckets.
Ernie Bolduc of Bolduc Farm in Gilford and Rosalie Babiarz, Regent of Mary Butler Chapter of DAR. (Courtesy photo)