The Story of Journey's End
When Marty Boisvert was 10 years old, he began noticing sap buckets on roadside trees near his Pittsfield, NH home. When his dad told them what they were, he became so intrigued that he wanted to try his hand at making syrup himself.
He and his dad tapped a few trees on their own property and boiled the sap over an open fire outside that first year. From there, Marty was hooked. Each year after that, they added more taps and began boiling syrup for family and friends.
In 2000, Marty built a small sugar house by hand, and together with his Dad, began making larger amounts of syrup to sell to locals. Marty likes to recall how his Dad would go into local restaurants at breakfast and quietly hand customers their real maple syrup to put on their pancakes and waffles, gaining a loyal customer base.
5 years later and taps in 20 different locations, they quickly outgrew their small sugar house and decided to build a larger one.
During this time, Marty's mom, who was diagnosed with lung cancer two years prior and had gone into remission, found out that her cancer was back and had metastasized, spreading to her liver and pancreas.
Despite this setback, Marty and his Dad decided after a long family conversation to go forward with the plans to build the new sugar house. This one would be big enough to hold a new reverse osmosis machine to speed up processing the sap by removing a large percent of the water prior to boiling. It would also house a workshop and kitchen to make maple cream, candies, and other maple products.
Marty worked through the winter to finish the sugar house and to be ready for the sugaring season. In February his Dad traveled to Jerusalem with his church. Upon returning, the family noticed something was not right with him. Sadly, Marty's father was diagnosed with liver cancer and was transferred to Boston for care. Marty, feeling angry and upset, took his frustrations out on trees and found solace in the woods tapping trees.
When his Dad returned home, he was far too weak to sit in the new sugar house with Marty. Marty still emotionally recalls the night he went down to the house to carry him up to the new sugar house to experience the very first boil of that season in the new sugar house and the smile on his Dad's face. To this day, Marty takes a moment during the first boil of every season standing in the same spot to remember that smile on his Dad's face.
Shortly after, his dad entered hospice care in Concord, and sadly within a week, Marty's Mom followed. With his parent's health failing, working a full-time job, and spending as much time as possible with his parents, Marty continued to collect sap and boil even as local maple producers and friends offered to do it for him. He felt it was important to carry on the tradition and push forward using it as personal therapy for himself. Neighbors and long-time friends held him up and got him through the toughest time of his life.
Sadly his Dad passed away during sugaring season that year and his mom passed less than a month later. Through everything, the sugaring business was Marty's saving grace, calling it "therapy one drop at a time".
In the years to follow Marty poured his time and energy into expanding Journey's End and along with loving family members pitching in to give their time and offer invaluable help to grow and support the farm. Using profits to purchase new equipment each year - adding vacuum pumps to their system, new tanks, a bigger evaporator built by Leader as well as a maple cream machine, candy machine and in 2018 a brand new reverse osmosis machine built by Maple Expert Solutions, the maple farm has flourished.
2018 brought multiple changes to the business and Marty's life with additional people coming on board to expand products, sales, and marketing. Today the farm taps over 2000 trees, gathers 35,000 gallons of sap and produces about 750 gallons of syrup.
The constant needs of the farm and our customers keep things moving forward for everyone involved creating a diversion and most important, purpose while life changes around us all.
As Marty said way back - tapping the trees and being out in the woods is our therapy "one drop at a time".
It all starts with the trees. We have about 2000 taps in the Pittsfield, NH, area to collect about 7000 gallons of sap each year. Much of it is done using tubing, but we still use around 130 buckets.
Back at the sugar house we boil down and process the sap. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!
At the sugar house, we determine its grade and fill over a dozen different kinds of containers with sweet, natural syrup to suit our customers' fancies.