This week we are featuring Eric Meyer; a local maple farmer who was also Maple Valley’s first bottler & shipper. He shared the story of his start in maple syrup production, told us what inspires him, and shared his reasoning for choosing Dark over Amber syrup. Read on for all of the juicy details!
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Tell us about yourself and your sugarbush.
My name is Eric Meyer. I moved from Madison, WI to the Driftless area 14 years ago. I met Cecil Wright and purchased land next to his sugarbush. Together we started our own sugaring operation. I live on our 36 acres with my wife Shawn and our four daughters. When I purchased the land it was nothing but a corn field surrounded by thick maple woods. We have built our own farm from the ground up.
How much maple syrup do you produce annually?
We produce an average of 500-700 gallons of syrup from our woods.
How did you first get started in Maple Syrup production? How long have you been making maple syrup?
I met Cecil Wright and together we set up his sugarbush and built the sugar house. When 20 acres came up for sale next to his land it was the perfect opportunity for growth and to set up my homestead. I have been making maple syrup for 14 years. I was Maple Valley’s first bottler and shipper.
What is your favorite part of the process?
Forest management and building new tubing systems. Being able to work outside in the woods.
Does your family help out?
All of my children have grown up stomping around in the snowy woods with me. Sometimes on my back in a pack and sometimes in a sled. Everyone looks forward to when the sap starts to run. As a family we like to taste the first sap and then the first syrup. The kids love hanging out in the sugarhouse helping out as taste testers.
What inspires you?
Providing a connection to the earth for my children and creating a sustainable food product from our land.
What does Organic mean to you? Why do you choose to farm organically?
Farming organically builds a natural relationship with the land. In my opinion, there is no positive outcome when using chemicals for food production.
What has been your greatest challenge as a maple farmer?
Like all farming our production varies year to year based on fluctuations in the weather.
What is your favorite way to eat maple syrup? Do you have a favorite recipe?
On pancakes and in coffee. We use it for everything.
Which do you prefer, Dark or Amber?
Dark syrup, it has a richer maple flavor.
What do you hope to see for yourself and your farm in the future?
I would like to continue to make our farm as self-sustaining as possible. It’s a great place to raise our children and we hope our sugarbush continues into the next generations of our family.