On the top of Allegheny Mountain, Laurel Fork Sapsuckers is the highest commercial sugar camp in Highland County. The property has been in the family for four generations. When Ronnie Moyers stumbled upon a grove of young sugar trees about 15 years ago, he had an idea. Moyers grew up making syrup with his parents, so after waiting for the trees to mature enough to support the process, he and his family developed a sugar camp of their own. It’s a true family operation, with Ronnie and his wife Sandy, their daughters and their families all coming up to help with the tapping, boiling and canning process. Located about 10 miles west of Monterey, off Clay Hise Lane, the property is now a “certified tree farm” with 18 acres of maple sugar trees that are managed to support trees, water, wildlife and recreation. Constructed entirely from trees on the property, the camp opened to the public in 2012.
Laurel Fork Sapsuckers syrup is cooked down slowly over a wood fire and is finished in a small stainless steel pan. Despite the recent construction, the two flat tin pans the Moyers use to cook the syrup down are over a century old. This is in line with the Moyers goal of keeping the camp as traditional as possible. “We’re not out for production,” Missy Moyers-Jarrells says. “We only make about 70 gallons of syrup each year. Ours is the way people did it 100 years ago and we want to share that with people.”
Guests are encouraged to help and be a part of the process. During Maple Festival the camp hosts demonstrations on tapping maple trees and live old time mountain music for entertainment. Those who tire from watching sugar water boil down into syrup, may rest on one of the benches made from fallen trees or take a hike on the 0.75 mile trail loop through the sugar camp.
During Maple Festival, the Moyers open a small county store where their syrup, apple butter, lunch, bake sale items and handmade items are available for sale. If you miss making it out to the camp, you might be able to find extra syrup at Highland Mountain Flowers in Monterey, Virginia. The Moyers also reopen the camp in October during Highland’s Hands and Harvest Festival to churn apple butter.
Laurel Fork Sapsuckers
Ronnie & Sandy Moyers
Left on Clay Hise Ln.
Hightown VA 24465