Bruce's Syrup & Candies
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, where he taps about 2000 trees 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.
In 2016, a new maple camp was constructed installing state of the art equipment to make for a much more efficient operation. Utilizing a new reverse osmosis machine that processes 1000 gallons of sap per hour, an oil fired evaporator (pictured left) that draws off over 20 gallons of syrup per hour, a new filter press and a state of the art water jacked bottler the same amount is syrup is now produced in 1/5 of the time it use to take!
Bruce is a regular vendor at the Highland Farmers’ Market and the Harrisonburg Farmers market. His syrup is also sold at Dancon in Monterey, the Blue Grass Mercantile, the Highland County Maple Festival and by phone and email orders. It is also served at the Maple Festival Pancake meals by the Highland Elementary School and by the Blue Grass Ruritan Club.