Friday, December 11, 2015

And so it begins...

The 2015/2016 has started. The guys have spent the last few weekends preparing the tubing system in the woods and cutting firewood. We will tap in late January/early February depending on weather conditions. The future weather predictions are calling for a warmer winter compared to the last few years, which is great news for us.

I'll start working on the vendor applications right after the new year. We are also taking a break from deliveries and shipping orders from December 18-January 8 so we are able to spend more time with our families over the holidays. 

The farm is looking great. While the guys were in the woods last weekend, Jenny, Mason and I cut back all of the landscaping and cleaned the farm house. 

We also put up our Christmas tree at home. Mason picked it out and did most of the decorating. 

We will be at the farm most day tomorrow (Saturday). If you would like to purchase syrup before the holidays, please call to place an order (812-964-4491). 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wholesale Locations

Our syrup is available at the following locations! If you are interested in a specific size, please call the location directly for accurate availability. 

Our farm is open by appointment. We also meet local customers in the Salem and Louisville area if our schedules allow. Please call 812-967-4491 or email if you have any questions!!  

* Bloomingfoods carries all sizes of plastic containers.

*Good Earth carries all sizes of plastic containers. 

* Pogues carries all sizes of plastic containers, excluding gallons. 

Apple Acres
9104 Indiana 37
Bedford, Indiana

*Apple Acres carries 8oz, pints and quarts of plastic containers.

Bear Wallow Distillery
4484 Old State Road 46
Nashville, IN 47448

* Bear Wallow carries 8oz and pints in plastic containers, and a nice selection of glass containers. 

*BCW carries 8oz and pints in plastic containers, and a nice selection of glass containers.

*Nashville House carries 8oz and pints in plastic containers, and a nice selection of glass containers. 

Rainbow Blossom
3738 Lexington Road
Louisville, KY 40207
*Rainbow Blossom carries all sizes of plastic containers. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015


We hosted our first wedding at the farm on August 1st. Our very good
friends Kenny and Tara, who both work with us during the maple syrup
season, were married on a gorgeous Saturday evening. It was beautiful.
Our only involvement was providing the venue – their friends and
family cleaned, decorated, set-up, and tore down all of the wedding
related things.

It was rustic and elegant. The weather was perfect. They brought in a
huge white tent. They had purple and white wildflowers, barn-board
signs, mason jars, and hay bales. Everyone had a wonderful time.

We have tossed around the idea of hosting weddings and special events
at the farm for a while. If you are looking for a very rustic, outdoor
setting for your event, shoot us an email at or call 812-967-4491

My little man turned three on August 10th. I can’t believe that he has
grown up so quickly. We had a Paw Patrol themed birthday party on
August 15th with our family. Mason’s big present was a trampoline. We
have been doing a lot of jumping.

He also started his second year of preschool on August 12th. He was so
grown up and didn’t cry at all on the first day.

Robert also finished his contract house this month. It will close
within the next two weeks. I know I’m biased, but it is a beautiful
house. Robert did a lot of the work himself and it is stunning.

Jenny has had a busy summer showing her horse. We are going down to
Lexington next weekend for her next show. She is showing at the
Preliminary level of eventing – with hopes of moving up to
Intermediate within the next year.

The maple syrup part of the farm is very repetitive to blog about on
the off season. We are still mowing a lot of grass, bottling syrup,
and making deliveries to our wholesale customers.  No new or exciting
updates to report :)

Hard to believe we are already at the half way mark to the 2016 festival. It's almost time to start cutting firewood! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dog Days of Summer

Blink an eye and it’s been a few months since my last blog post. I’m
such a bad blogger!!

Nothing new or exciting to report, hence the lack of posting. We have
settled into our off season routine. I go to the
Indianapolis/Bloomington area about three times every two months for
deliveries. Jen and Nic do all of the Louisville area deliveries over
lunch or after work. We mow a lot of grass at the farm. It’s HOT.

We have been extremely busy in our personal lives as well, away from
the farm. Robert works with a general contracting firm specializing in
new residential construction. He has close to 20 houses in various
stages of development, with more on the way. He is contracting his
first home on his own this summer, which he is very excited about!

Mason is out of preschool for the summer so we have been spending a
lot of time playing outside, swimming and camping. We are very
fortunate that my sister-in-law is a teacher and has the summer off.
Mason spends the day with her while I’m working and they have a ton of

Jen has been busy showing her horse. She recently completed her first
Preliminary event at the Indiana Eventing Association Horse Trials.
Her next competition is at the Kentucky Horse Park the second weekend
in July. We camp at most of her shows throughout the summer and I’m
her “minion” at the shows.

We had planned on hosting a Spring/Summer open house day at the farm,
but with our busy schedules, we haven’t had a good weekend between the
4 of us. Hopefully we can plan one in the fall. We do syrup sales by
appointment at the farm and ship world wide all year.Just call or send us an email if you need to get a hold of us!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring is in the Air

Ok folks….I’m back. After taking a little break from blogging to catch
up on real life, which was put on hold for three months during the
maple syrup season, things are back to normal.

We are still up at the farm at least once a week. We stay busy with
the syrup all year with our wholesale customers and mail orders. We
also meet people at the farm by appointment if they want to pick up
their order instead of shipping. Robert and I live about 30 minutes
away so it’s not a bad drive at all. The grass is growing. If it dries
out enough by this weekend, Robert and Mason plan on mowing everything
while I bottle a round of syrup. Every year after the festival, our
fields look like muddy soup. Every year we think that the grass can’t
possibly come back, but it does.

Mason and I made a huge delivery trip on Thursday last week. We left
the house at 9:30am and didn’t get back until 11pm. Talk about a long
day. We delivered to Nashville House, Bloomingfoods, and Brown County
Winery in the Bloomington/Nashville area. We had a banana split
together at the little ice cream shop in Nashville and Mason got more
on himself than in his mouth, but we had fun.  We also made deliveries
at Green Bean, Pogues Run Grocery Store, Good Earth Natural Foods, and
Traders Point Creamery in Indianapolis. Mason fed the ducks and had a
great time. About halfway home he had an absolute meltdown because he
wanted spaghetti. We made a late pit stop for some spaghetti, at 9pm –
the joys of a 2 year old. I can’t complain though. He’s great in the
car and he’s my big helper.

We went on our first camping trip of the year over the weekend. We
went to South Harrison Park, which is right outside of Elizabeth
Indiana. We had a great time. We all got a little sunburned and ate a
lot of junk food. The park has an awesome sandbox and several nice
playgrounds. We also rode bikes and colored on the campground road
with chalk.

Check back for more updates soon. We plan on having an open house
weekend in May after the weather dries up!

Monday, March 16, 2015


We did it. We survived another season. I think this one was more
difficult than last year after having some time to digest everything.
We have an awesome following of very loyal customers – thank you to
each and every one of you. You made it in spite of bad weather
conditions, muddy soup for parking and wet festival grounds.

Also, a huge thank you to our vendors who attended the festival. We
had several new faces this year and we enjoyed everyone. We have a
great group of people and you guys feel like a part of our family
every year.

Last but not least, a big thank you to all of our staff members.
Everyone worked SO HARD this year. It isn’t an easy job and everyone
was just wonderful.

The open house was a great success!! The weather was pretty nasty on
Friday. We got a ton of rain, resulting in flash flooding in the area.
We had a river running through our Sugarhouse at 11:30pm on Friday
evening. The little ditch that runs along the east end of the
Sugarhouse jumped the banks and ran right into the dining room area.

The rain on Friday continued into Saturday morning. Our crowds were
fairly small on Saturday, but we still had several brave customers
make it out to the farm. The sun came out in the afternoon and
everything finally started drying out. You could feel spring in the
air. The flowers started blooming, the grass started turning green,
and the birds were singing.

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. We hit 70* with sunshine all day. We
had a decent crowd. Definitely much smaller than a regular festival,
but we still filled up two fields with parked cars and had a steady
stream of customers all day. Kids were playing in the creek and
everyone was greatly enjoying soaking up the sunshine. Mason ran
around all day with my mom. I think he wore her out!!

The warm weather is beautiful, but it means an end to our season. The
trees are getting ready to bud out and without freezing temperatures
at night, our sap collection is over for the year. We still have a
little bit more sap to boil, so we will probably have one more boil
this week. We will start pulling taps and cleaning our tubing system
this weekend. We will hopefully have 3-4 crews in the woods this
weekend and get everything finished and cleaned up for the season. As
much as I love the farm, I think all of us are a little burned out
right now. Late nights and working every weekend catches up to all of
us eventually.

After we get everything cleaned up and shut down for the year, we will
probably take a little break from working at the farm. We will
obviously still be up there at least once a week to mail orders,
bottle syrup, and mow grass all summer, but now it’s time for some
family time!!

Robert, Mason and I enjoy camping all summer. We have a 27’ travel
trailer and we love exploring campgrounds in the area. We ride bikes,
go hiking, swimming, and build bonfires. Mason is already asking when
we are going camping for the first time and we need to go shopping and
get him a new bike this year. He has already decided that it has to be
a BLUE bike. I am so excited about this summer. Mason is going to have
so much fun. I’m sure it is going to be impossible to keep him inside
or wearing shoes all summer!!

Jen shows her horse all summer. Her first show is next week in Aiken,
SC. Robert, Mason and I travel with her as much as possible to attend
her local shows. Most of the show grounds also have wonderful
campsites (our favorite is the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington,
Kentucky). She has big plans for this summer so send her good luck

I’ll still update everyone with our summer outings and business
updates. We will be having several more open house weekends this year
so check back for dates when they are announced. Now, go outside and
enjoy the beautiful weather!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A little perspective

Thank you for the kind words and comments on my last post. I’ve been a
little down for the past few days due to some negative feedback received about the Festival. Some of it was well deserved (the grounds were extremely muddy and parking was practically mud soup by the end of the weekend). I know we cannot make everyone happy and there is probably one negative complaint out of 1,000 happy customers. I
appreciate and welcome constructive criticism. If you see something that you have a good idea about improving, please let me know. I’d love to hear it.

I think a lot of people see the business as a well established, well oiled machine. While we have been making syrup on the farm for almost 30 years, this is only the second year that the business has been
owned and operated by myself, Robert, Jen and Nic. In previous years, the business was operated as a seasonal hobby by my parents. My father had a well established career, so it wasn’t detrimental if the business had a great year or a bad year. The four of us are all under the age of 32 (Robert is the old man of the family), Robert and I have
a young son, and we all work regular full time jobs in addition to running the farm. While it won’t be crisis to our families if the farm doesn’t make a profit at this time, taking a loss every year isn’t a
viable option for us.

Making syrup is a weather dependant farming activity. We have no control over how much syrup we produce each year. We can do things that improve our syrup making process (replacing our tubing system, converting to a different spile size) and make our syrup making
process more efficient (new reverse osmosis machine, log splitter last
year, tractor last year), but we can’t make the sap come out of the trees if the weather conditions aren’t exactly right. The last two years have had very unfavorable weather conditions. We need a freeze/thaw pattern. We had an extremely cold winter last year
followed by a very warm spring. Same thing is happening this year. When the weather is negative one week, followed by 60s the next week, our season is basically over.

Now that we are operating the business, and running it like a business, we have had to make several changes in order to survive. We aren’t doing things like charging for the games ($1.00 for 5 tickets, each game costs 1 or 2 tickets) to get rich and nickel and dime our
customers, we are doing it so we can break even and pay our staff members to run the Festival. For example, if we have 6 people running the game area for 4 days from 9-5am, that is 192 paid employee hours. Let’s use a nice even number at $10/hour. That means we are paying $1,920 in labor for what used to be a free activity. By charging a
very small fee ($0.20 per ticket if you buy 5), we are able to cover most of our labor costs associated with paying the 6 people to run the activity each day.

Several people complained that there was a small fee for the candle making activity, which is $1.50 per candle. The candle making activity is run by a local youth group and 100% of the profits are donated to that charity. They don’t make a huge profit, but the little bit that
they do receive goes a long way to helping young people in our

Same thing with the kitchen – our meal prices increased slightly this year (the largest increase was $1.00) and we started charging $1.00 per drink instead of including a free drink with every meal purchase. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even go to Taco Bell and feed my
family of three for under $25. Our most expensive meal option is $11.00, which is a half chicken BBQ dinner, served with three sides. Children under the age of 5 can eat breakfast at no charge. Two local
churches run our kitchen area and a very large percentage (lets just say it’s above 75%) of the kitchen profit is donated to the churches.

Lastly, one of the most often heard complaints is our parking area. We
know its muddy and it is not even remotely ideal. We get numerous
suggestions to offer paved parking. Let’s do the math on that. By my estimation and by using Google maps, I believe that we would need to pave approximately 27 acres to offer paved parking and pave the most heavily traveled festival grounds. I did a Google search on paving
costs and I’ll use $1.75 per square foot for an easy, round number. 27 acres converted into square feet is 1,176,120 square feet. So that’s $2,058,210, not including ground preparation, gravel and maintenance.

Anyone in the paving business want to weigh in on this?

So, no, we are not trying to nickel and dime our customers. We aren’t laughing all the way to the bank. We are genuinely trying to help people in our community by offering fundraising activities and share
our family farm with you. We still have to wake up and go to work 5 days a week to pay our bills. 4 months out of the year, every day after working all day at our “regular” jobs, we go to the farm and
work so we can make enough syrup to get through one more year. It’s
not easy. My tax papers showed a whopping $410.00 paid for wages I earned at the farm last year. We get cold, tired, muddy, hurt, and we miss spending precious time with our families - but we love this farm. This is where Jen and I grew up. This is where Mason will grow up. I hope that one day we can watch Mason’s family splash in mud puddles and fall in love with it like we do.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Two Down...One to Go (with update on our OPEN HOUSE plans)

If I summed up this weekends’ Festival in one word, it would be MUDDY.

photo by Jared Phillips - mud puddles!! 

The weather this week has been crazy. We had a storm come through the
area on Wednesday/Thursday and the weathermen couldn’t tell if it was
going to be rain, snow, sleet, or Godzilla. Some were calling for 24+
inches of snow or 2 inches of snow. We ended up getting 2 inches of
rain on Wednesday. After the rain came through, the temperatures
dropped to -3* and we got 5 inches of snow. After the snow came
through, the temperatures warmed back up to the mid 40s and the
temperatures will be above 60 by the end of the week. Welcome to

Due to the weather, there was mud EVERYWHERE. Parking was muddy, the
grounds were muddy, the mud was tracked into the store, even I was
muddy. The parking guys did a great job pushing/pulling everyone out
that needed assistance and I saw a lot of kids thoroughly enjoying
stomping in mud puddles.

Mason enjoyed the mud!!!

We had a hard freeze Friday night and everything was frozen solid on
Saturday morning. Parking held up fairly well until the temperatures
rose above freezing, at which time the parking lots quickly
deteriorated into a mud pit. It froze again on Saturday night, but it
only improved the parking from a mud bog to a slightly frozen mud bog.
Before....Friday evening.


Everyone always asks us why we don’t gravel or pave our farm and
parking areas. Well, first of all, it’s a farm and the fields you park
in at the festival are our hay fields in the summer. Secondly, it is
also not financially responsible to gravel or pave our entire farm for
a 4 day festival. We lay a large amount of straw, gravel the main
drive, and gravel the entrance/exit lanes in the parking area, but the
mud just consumes everything we put on the ground. Lastly, call me
crazy, but it wouldn’t be the Maple Syrup Festival without the mud. I
know it’s hard to park, but where else do you get the chance to see an
operating maple syrup farm and stomp in some mud puddles?

Future syrup farmer in the making!!

Minus the mud, the festival ran smoothly this weekend. We were up late
boiling and bottling syrup several nights, but no 1:30am trips to
Wal-Mart this weekend!! We did run out of syrup on Saturday afternoon.
We made more during the day on Saturday and overnight from
Saturday/Sunday, and quickly ran out again on Sunday afternoon. People
seemed to be fairly patient.

We are actively producing syrup this week and expect to make a large
quantity within the next 3-4 days. We do expect our season to be over
by the end of the week, unless we get a freeze at night one day this
week. Several days above freezing usually causes the trees to bud out
very quickly with all of the moisture in the ground.

Due to the crazy weather and the shortage of syrup in plastic
containers this past weekend, we are opening the farm for a third
weekend on March 14th and 15th. We will be open from 9am-5pm both
days. Our open house will feature many of our vendors, syrup available
in the store, pancakes and waffles served all day, and maple BBQ pork
available for lunch and dinner. We will have the Children’s Activity
Center open for coloring and dress up activities. Our horse drawn
wagon rides will be available on Saturday only.

We WILL NOT be offering our maple BBQ chicken, branding irons, candle
making activity, straw maze, maple tea, or running our evaporator
(unless we get a hard freeze this week, which is not expected).

We will be posting a complete list of activities later in the week
once we get everyone scheduled. Please send us an email
( or call (812-967-4491) if you have any