I grew up spending summers exploring the woods and groves of my family's farm in Illinois, so finding a place my wife and daughters could enjoy and call their own was important to me. We scoured the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions for just the right place. From my days at West Point, I was familiar with the Dutchess County area so we focused our search there.
When I first saw this property and its wide range of geography, incredible trout streams, forests and fields, and the phenomenal view at the top of the mountain, I knew we had found the perfect place for our maple syrup farm. We had found Madava Farms.
An idea sprouts
Needing a new entrance to the property, I hired a local engineer to build a bridge over a trout stream and along the way he and I started talking about maple sugaring. My neighbor in Dover Plains was also helping with the improvements and his family had even more experience tapping trees and making maple syrup. Those first conversations turned into a year and a half of research that included extensive work with Mike Farrell, the director of Cornell University's Uihlein Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station. We also worked closely with Mike Greason, a well-known consultant forester who passed away recently. We also had many meetings with the leading equipment manufacturers and challenged them to help us create a maple syrup production process that set a new industry standard for purity, energy efficiency and quality.
I became really excited about the idea that maple sugaring was a perfect way to protect the forest -- not only on my property but throughout the area -- and set out to create a business that would do just that. Producing maple syrup is amazing; it doesn’t require that you touch the forest or disturb the wildlife or their natural habitat.
Crown Maple Syrup takes root
We’re also building Crown Maple to help other landowners in this region protect their maple groves. It has become the perfect business for my wife Lydia and me. She loves the culinary aspects and is fascinated with finding and promoting new ways to use pure maple syrup in cooking. I’m drawn to protecting the forest and the process of producing the purest syrup possible.
I want Madava Farms to be a place where families visit to experience the beauty of this area and learn about the natural process of making pure maple syrup. Until then, I hope you think about this land you’re helping to preserve each time you enjoy our Crown Maple Syrup.