On the woodsy stretch of Gardiner Road in Richmond – which is sure to be bursting with orange and russet leaves this time of season – Spring Hill Sugar House is a flurry of fall activity. Inside the rustic-looking farmstand are shelves and refrigerators stocked with local honey, jugs of apple cider (and donuts), gourds, and johnny cake meal produced on the farm, but Spring Hill is best known for their maple syrup operation. What began in 1980 with farmer Gibby Fountain purchasing spirals at a hardware store to tap some trees on their property – producing 200 buckets that first year – has grown into 3,000 taps and a tubing system yielding 40 gallons of genuine maple syrup on a good season.
“The farm is about family and tradition. We want to remain current but not commercialized,” says Gibby and Ginny Fountain’s daughter Erin Liese, who runs the retail end of Spring Hill Sugar House (where it’s cash or check only), along with helping to organize the annual corn maze, fall pumpkin varieties, and crop monitoring, putting to use her degree in plant science from the University of Rhode Island. The family also includes Liese’s husband Kyle and son Travis who work on harvesting and producing the apple cider.
While there’s never a wrong season to stock up on maple syrup, during fall the farm is host to seasonal attractions drawing families and autumn-lovers. “Our customers can go right out to the field and pick the pumpkin from the vine where it was grown,” shares Liese, or shop for pumpkins and decorative gourds in bushel baskets surrounding the farmstand.
The corn maze and fields are open through October 31 on weekdays from 12-4:30pm, weekends and Columbus Day 10am-4:30pm, and the store closes at 5pm daily. Pro-tip: check back in March for on-site syrup demonstrations. 522 Gardiner Road, Richmond, Facebook: Spring Hill Sugar House
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here