Like many of the area’s maple syrup producers, Bruce began making syrup as a young child from trees tapped by his family for generations. Early on, his uncle told him that if he wanted to take over making the maple sugar candy, he could keep the profit. Today, Bruce continues to maintain the family sugar orchard and make syrup, as well as selling an extensive line of maple products, including maple fudge, maple covered nuts, maple suckers and maple baked goods.
Bruce’s sugar orchard stretches across seven ridges in the Blue Grass Valley an area of approximately 130 acres. He taps about 1,700 trees with the help of some Mennonite friends usually on one or two days at the end of January. Bruce utilizes a vacuum tubing system held off the ground to collect the sap. A special adapter is used to tap the tree to keep the hole fresh and maximize the sap flow over an extended period of time and minimize the impact to the tree. Though he loves to watch the sap flowing through the lines, he isn’t fond of the squirrel and bear damage that can be quite a challenge to keep the entire network of tubing leak free to maintain the maximum vacuum possible.
Bruce is a regular vendor at: Highland Farmers’ Market, Bath County Farmers’ Market and the Harrisonburg Farmers market. His syrup is sold at: Dancon, Country Convenience and the Highland County Maple Festival. It is also served at the Maple Festival Pancake meals by the Highland Elementary School and the Blue Grass Ruritan Club.