Brydonson Farm, Ayers Hill, Potter County
Owned by Bryan and Donna Ianson (and Family)
“Family is the most important thing” at the Brydonson Farm on Ayers
Hill Road just south of Coudersport in beautiful Potter County,
where producing maple syrup has been a big part of the lives of
Ianson Family members for seven generations.
This picturesque, inviting farm is owned and operated by Bryan and
Donna Ianson and their three children and ten grandchildren, who
also live on the property.
The Ianson Family moved to the Ayers Hill Area in the early 1800’s,
and in 1863 purchased the first parcel of land that has become the
sprawling farm. Brydonson Farm began as a modest operation,
producing dairy and beef products primarily, but also boiling maple
sap and, during Prohibition, making “pigs’ ear,” better known as
Moonshine. The first “sugar bush” tapped by the original Ianson
settlers is still being used today. “You can cut a tree once but you
can tap it forever. Once you cut it, it’s gone,” Bryan said.
“We were a poor farming family for generations,” Bryan said. In
fact, the farm was lost at one point due to back taxes, but within
the space of a few decades, Bryan and Donna purchased it back,
determined to turn it into a successful endeavor. Donna grew up in
Tioga County, and her family tapped Maple trees, as well.
“To go from a little kettle on an open fire to where we are today
is phenomenal,” Bryan said.
The farm now boasts a large, fully-stocked store, a beautiful
professional kitchen, and all of the high-tech equipment that allows
for the most efficient, safest and most modern way of producing pure
maple syrup, jelly, cream, candy, granulated sugar, mustard,
sugar-coated nuts, toppings, fudge, barbecue sauce and a wealth of
baked goods and other products.
This facility is one of the few large-scale wood-fired operations
remaining in the area, making products from the sap of over 11,000
trees annually. Approximately 6,000 of those trees are on Brydonson
Farm, including a recent expansion project that laid an additional
70 miles of bright blue tubing to carry the sap to storage through a
In addition to producing maple products, Brydonson Farm sells all
the equipment needed to tap trees and refine sap for everyone from
the backyard hobbyist to commercial producers.
The Iansons take pride in the historic significance of maple
sugaring, and do anything they can to promote education of this
traditional art. Tours are available at the farm year round, and
have been given to elementary, secondary and university-level
students and many different groups including one comprised of 80
United Nations dignitaries from around the world.
Bryan has been called
“Mr. Maple” by generations of children in Potter County and the
surrounding area for his frequent educational presentations at local
The Ianson Family also produced a video entitled “The Sweetest
Drip” that explains the history, equipment, and the start-to-finish
process of creating all types of maple products, laid out in
chapters for ease of use by educators.
The video includes a song called “Tap, Tap, Tonk” written and
performed by Mike Papalia, inspired by the sound made when a tree is
tapped and the overabundance of squirrels in the maple trees during
one particularly hard winter.
Bryan and Donna’s grandchildren are featured in “The Sweetest
Drip,” and Bryan says, “We want to keep the traditions alive. The
grandkids are there to help and to learn to be the next generation
of syrup producers.”
The focus on passing this information on is evident throughout the
grounds. Children’s artwork hangs in the home, school projects on
maple production grace the walls of the store, and tiny boot prints
are evident in the yard around the Sugar Shack.
Bryan and Donna’s three children, Bryonna, Bert and Bart, have
homes on the farm property, and they and their spouses and children
are involved in maple production and general farming. The Iansons
raise cows, pigs and chickens, and Bryonna produces
wonderfully-scented jar candles known throughout the area by the
moniker “Swede Scents.”
The Iansons also maintain the family cemetery, nestled on a
hillside in a quiet section of the sprawling farm, fittingly
surrounded by blue tubing.
Brydonson Farm is located at 592 North Ayers Hill Road,
Coudersport, just off PA-872 between Austin and Coudersport in
central Potter County. The farm store is open and tours are
available year-round. Call (814) 274-9680 to check availability and
to order a pancake breakfast for your group
reach Brydonson Farm from Route 6, take PA-872 South from just east
of Coudersport for approximately 2 miles. Turn left onto Ayers Hill
Road. Travel four miles, being sure to stay on the paved portion of
the road. Brydonson Farms’ Sugar House will be on the left side of