(This article, which originally appeared in the Coos County Democrat, is reprinted here with their permission and with thanks to Democrat writer Edith Tucker.)
RANDOLPH — Fuller’s Sugarhouse LLC of Lancaster was selected as the successful bidder on a publicly advertised 15-year lease for commercial maple tapping on up to 723 acres, now specifically designated for this purpose.
The Commission interviewed both outfits that submitted bids in response to a request for proposals at its regular monthly meeting on Oct. 7.
Fuller’s Sugarhouse is co-owned by Dave and Patti Fuller, who have been producing N. H. maple syrup since 1973. “We currently have over 10,000 taps that are all on leased land,” their proposal reads. “We currently have a lease on N.H. state land on Weeks State Park on Mt. Prospect and have been there for 18 years. Another lease on private and has been running for 28 years.”
They also pointed out that all of the maple syrup produced from this new operation would be processed and packaged in their Main Street facility in Lancaster.
Reached by telephone on Sunday, Dave Fuller said, “We’re very excited and pleased that the Randolph Forest Commission decided to entrust this new venture to us. We’ll work hard not to disappoint the Commissioners, townspeople, and everyone who made this locally controlled community asset a reality.”
When asked how many people would likely be hired as they begin to develop a sugarbush, Fuller replied, “Near term, between four and six full-time jobs. As taps are added with future tree growth, more jobs would be added.”
In addition to tending trees and operating the Sugarhouse, once the maple season is complete Fuller’s woods crew is busy installing tubing systems for other sugar makers. “We are currently working on the installation of a 25,000-tap operation, providing all the labor and expertise to ensure this new sugar maker is successful,” Fuller explained in the proposal document.
Michael Farrell of Lake Placid, N.Y., operations director for the venture capital firm, Adirondack Management, LLC, submitted the only other tapping lease bid proposal. Colin Christie of Lancaster represents Farrell locally.
Commission members discussed the pros and cons of the two bidders in a 45-minute executive session, and, according to the minutes, then made their decision. Three Commission members Doug Mayer, Mark Kelley, and alternate David Willcox, who was appointed that afternoon in Walter Graff’s absence, voted “yes,” and chairman John Scarinza abstained, presumably because he buys sugarmaking equipment from Fuller’s for the sugaring operation that he and his wife Jenn Barton Scarinza run in town.
It was late in 2014 that a start-up, Crown Maple of New York state, identified a potential sugarbush on the Randolph Community Forest and public discussion and a public hearing was held to explain the concept and to listen to the public.