On a steep slope on the edge of Mt. Cabot in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, there sits a maple operation with a long history and a new legacy, Mount Cabot Maple. Founded in 2005, Mount Cabot Maple produces a limited amount of single sourced organic syrup each year from trees that have been supplying sap since the 1800’s. Fast forward to 2020, when Morgan Hill, who grew up on the land, had the privilege and opportunity to purchase the business from its founder. With Sophie Earll, her partner in all things, Morgan and Sophie now own and operate Mount Cabot Maple together. As their new label proudly states, the business is “Women Run. Queer Crafted. Family Owned.” Only 30 years old and in a predominantly male industry, the two are figuring out how to navigate the trade, create the business they want, and forge ahead together.
At its peak, the forest once had 8,000 taps. In 2016 & 2017, it was devastated by an infestation of forest tent caterpillars and healthy trees decreased to 3,000, resulting in a 62% decline in syrup production. The forest is now back up to almost 4,000 taps, but Sophie, a certified arborist, says that in her lifetime, the forest might never be at the same capacity it was before the blight. When they walk the land they see that reality. For every tree they are able to tap they must pass over one or two. They are working harder for every single tap, and constantly think about the way the environment affects the ecosystem and their livelihood. As the next generation of maple sugarmakers on Mount Cabot, they strive to help the forest recover and thrive.