Making Maple Syrup is a Family Tradition, Three Generations Strong at Maplewood Farm and Orchard
Duane LaFever and his wife Karen, proprietors of Maplewood Farm and Orchard, are continuing a family tradition that began with Duane’s grandfather.
Ben LaFever made Maple Syrup from the late 1920′s to the 1950′s. Ben’s three sons helped through the years, and his son George (Duane’s father) continued making Syrup in the 1970′s. In 1987 Duane took up the work.
Today, Duane and his partner Tom Kaufman make the Syrup. Family members still lend a hand (where else can you get free help?). Tom’s dad Russell Kaufman was a steady regular along with friend and neighbor Ed Svec.
Duane’s father George “Old-Timer” LaFever collects sap by truck and gives lots of how-to advice. Karen’s father Walt Oelschlager seems to know when the steam is rising and comes up over the mountain to lend a hand.
Karen LaFever makes all the Maple Cream and Maple Candy products. She has added to the gift shop with her hand-painted sap buckets and other crafts.
Duane and Karen’s sons Cody and Cullen are at the sap house too and hopefully they will decide to be the fourth generation of LaFever’s to make Maple Syrup.
How our Syrup-Making has Changed
- Ben LaFever used a 5 x 16 wood-fired King Evaporator.
- George LaFever made Syrup with a 3 x 10 wood-fired Leader Evaporator and 800 taps.
- Duane LaFever began in 1987 with a 3 x 10 wood-fired King Evaporator and 850 taps, 150 of which were buckets.
Our Sugar House (or Sap House) started out as a 16 ft. x 10 ft. building and we used a wood-fired 3 ft. x 10 ft. evaporator.
You can tell we really like to make Syrup! We have made four additions to the building and now use an oil-fired 4 ft. x 14 ft. Small Brothers Turbo Evaporator with a 4 x 10 piggyback unit. At maximum, 450 and 500 gallons of sap can be boiled off in an hour.
We have 5 sugar bushes and 3500 taps that we collect sap from. A pipeline system with a vacuum pump is used at all locations.
Click here to learn more about how Maple Syrup is made.
Our Sugar Bushes are in Delaware County, New York, between the East and West branches of the Delaware River, in the Western Catskill Mountains.