Explore our farm

Elm Brook Farm

Farm Life | let the fun begin

There are chores to do on a farm. Every day brings a new supply. There are pleaures too. Explore our farm and get to know the ways that the natural life challenges and rewards.

“When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.”
― Daniel Webster
  • Before the Farm

    On Elm Brook Farm in Vermont we change the pace. The idea was born from an unexpressed passion for a way of life not available in the cities we were fortunate to have called home. City life can be its own reward but for our family there was something vaguely incomplete in our urban lifestyle. Looking back on those hectic days living and working in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo, it now seems obvious that the agrarian myth had taken hold right from the beginning. Whether it was weekends in the country or a quick lunch at a city center book store reading stories of rural life or of studying which breed of dog is the best for hunting (Braque français to be sure!), life in the city was leading us to Elm Brook Farm.

  • On the Farm
    The Swing

    Life here on the farm is about work and lots of it. But it’s also about experiencing life first hand both on and off the farm. So as you try our products we hope you recognize that not only did a lot of work go into making them but our sense of adventure helped create them too.

  • Family & Farm

    A farm is just land when a family is not there to make it a home. We are fortunate to have been blessed with a son and two daughters. Our son Matthew is on his own adventure now and he makes his home in New York City but he still finds time to return now and then. Our daughters Lauren and Claire are here and make this farm more than a piece of land for their mom and dad.

    Matthew & Rowling
    Lauren Ice Climbing
    Claire Riding Cranrock
Sugar Maple

Sugar Maples | acer saccharum

Here in Fairfield, there is a significant history of gathering maple sap to make syrup and other sweets. Much of the information presented here was collected from neighbors whose families have histories making maple products.

Early Vermont colonist and settlers had a farm centered subsistence lifestyle where in late winter and early spring maple sugaring was an integral part of farm life. Maple trees were tapped and a spout and bucket was attached to catch the sap. Often with the help of horses, the sap was collected and then boiled down to syrup in a large outdoor cauldron or evaporator pan. Though sap buckets can still be seen, newer sap collection and sap concentration technology is used and as a result today's maple sugaring is larger and more efficient.

  • Maple Woods
    Maple Trees

    On our farm in late winter Sugar Maple and Red Maple trees are tapped and connected to a network of pipes that collect and pool the sap. The sap carries the sugar that the trees stored as starch in their trunks and roots before the winter and converted to sugar during the warmer days of spring.

  • Sap Lines
    Maple Sap

    Over the sugaring season sap from our farm averages about 1.7 percent sugar with other flavorful organic compounds and minerals providing the unique maple flavor. We gather the sap through old fashion sap buckets and modern day pipeline and vacuum pumps.

  • Pump House
    Maple Syrup

    The maple sap is gathered at our pump house and then concentrated using the physical chemistry processes of reverse-osmosis and vaporization. Maple syrup has a density of 66° on the Brix scale (a hydrometric scale used to measure sugar solutions). Typically it takes over 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup.

Elm Brook Waterfall

Brooks, Ponds, & Waterfalls | aqua pura

It is the movement of water on Elm Brook Farm that allows us to create Rail Dog Barrel Aged Maple Spirit and Literary Dog Premium Sipping Vodka. What begins as rain and snow becomes brooks, streams and small pools of water. These streams and pools eventually percolate through fissures in the rock to be purified and become mineral water stored in small aquifers beneath the surface of the farm.

It is this source of water that is taken up by the roots of the maple trees. It travels up the tree to dissolve and transport the sugars contained in the tree. Each year in late winter and early spring just a bit of that sweet water is collected, fermented and distilled to eventually become a fine maple spirit. As a final step we draw a bit of the mineral water to blend with the spirit and produce a smooth flavorful finished product that can not be replicated anywhere else in the world.

Asiatic Lilly

Cultivation | let it grow

Since moving to Elm Brook Farm we have been continuously improving the land. As anyone who works on the land can tell you, there are always struggles and opportunities when dealing with mother nature. As we learn to compromise and pace ourselves, we also remember to enjoy the beauty and to soak in the sunshine.

  • Blackberries

    August is Blackberries. A bonus of our forest management program is blackberries! Having harvested the softwoods and hemlock trees to allow more space for the hardwoods, especially maple trees, we've opened the forest canopy thereby allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor. This allows indigenous plants to naturally emerge in the open space. We discovered that our farm is a great nursery for wild blackberries. We also learned that it makes a great habitat for Vermont’s indigenous black bear.

  • Lilly Garden

    Another past time is gardening. Though the growing season is short, there is nothing more delightful than smelling the sweet fragrance and seeing the bright colors of flowers.

  • Winter Orchard

    Our apple orchards were planted years ago by some of Vermont’s first settlers. Today they produce a variety of succulent apples, from large juicy reds to small tart pale greens. We dehydrate the harvest each fall and add the apple slices to our teas. We also make our own apple cider and are experimenting with hard cider.

  • Vineyards

    Before we started our disillery we planted grapes. We have south-facing rolling hills with a terroir for growing cold-hearty grapes. We carefully tend to our vineyard to nurture and protect the fruit. Our short, hot summers and cool, sunny autumns fortify our grapes with the sugars. Stay tuned for our grape based products on the horizon.

Elm Brook Farm Meadow

Sustainability | sustinere

Vermont is outstanding in terms of its biodiversity, landscape beauty and the rural communities that live and work here.

Our objective for Elm Brook Farm is to find an innovative way to help rural communities and society in general understand and value the natural, cultural and economic aspects of Vermont farms and woodlands. We hope to contribute to the growing movement among local communities that have started to use the natural resources of Vermont in a sustainable manner ecologically as well as socially and economically.

Our environmental stewardship includes Black Creek protective streamside buffer zones; forest management through the Vermont Current Use Program, and practices to enhance the habitat for fish and wildlife.

Coyote in the woods
Fawn in the forest
Bobcat tracking in the woods
Turkeys in the front yard
Moose in the backyard
Black bear in the apple orchard
Jiminy Cricket
Brook Trout in Elm Brook