Butler Family Maple, Tioga, Tioga County
Owned by: Jody and
Jennifer Butler; Daughters Jaylin and Jana
Jody and Jennifer Butler heard about Maple Knoll, a century farm
located three miles from Jennifer’s parents’ home, being offered for
sale, they jumped at the opportunity.
The previous owners
helped found the Potter/Tioga Maple Producers Association, and syrup
had been produced on the farm beginning in the 1800’s.
It seemed like a
perfect fit to the Butlers. Jennifer grew up on a dairy farm,
producing maple syrup for farm use. Jody tapped trees throughout
high school and early adulthood, using the proceeds from the 300
taps he harvested to put himself through college.
The parcel they
purchased includes the historic farmhouse that the Butler’s live in,
built in the 1880’s, and the farm’s Sugar House, which they have
repaired and use for their own operation.
“We wanted to keep
the same kind of tradition that we grew up on, and this is the best
thing we can do to keep that value system going,” Jennifer said. “We
try to incorporate anything we can to keep our histories and the
story going. Everything we use is as much as possible a piece of
history. When we’re in the sugar house, it’s stories that entertain
us, not electronics.”
Though the Butlers
use some modern technology, such as tubing systems and a steam-away,
they still use a wood-fired evaporator and go without a reverse
Anything else that
can be reused or recycled is put to good use. Some of the
glass-lined dairy tubes used on Jennifer’s parents’ farm are
utilized at Butler’s, as are some galvanized steel tanks and other
thirteen antique tractors on the farm, the newest of them built in
1967. They are used in day-to-day operations and put on display
during the annual Maple Weekend held in March, along with over
twenty others belonging to family and friends.
When the couple
purchased the farm, the sugar house had not been used in over ten
years. Jen and Jody cleaned up the equipment and used it, producing
enough syrup for the use of themselves and their extended family.
The following year,
what equipment could be used in commercial production was kept,
while anything unsafe or hard to keep clean was discarded, and new
equipment purchased to replace it.
Bryan and Donna
Ianson, owners of Potter County’s Brydonson Farms and members of the
Potter/Tioga Maple Producers, helped Jody and Jennifer procure the
right equipment and get off to a good start.
Jody and Jen
maintain approximately 1000 taps on their 70-acre farm on a
picturesque hillside near the village of Farmington Hill in northern
Tioga County. Most of these are on a tubing system, as are the 1500
maintained on the land of family members and neighbors. Between 100
and 200 of the taps drain into buckets that hang from the trees in
the manner used traditionally on the Butler Farm.
The Butlers do not
have any immediate plans for expansion. Jody and Jennifer each work
full-time jobs and are raising two young daughters, Jaylin and Jana,
who love to work on the farm.
“We want this to be
something that we love to do, not something that our girls dread,”
Jennifer said. “Ultimately, we’re really hopeful one or both of the
girls will take it over when we’re ready to retire, so we just try
to add something to the operation every year but not necessarily
official Butler Family Maple Tour Guide, is excited about her role
in the family business. Her younger sister Jana, a toddler, seems
happy just to follow her sister’s lead, and parrot what Jaylin says
as she talks about the farm.
“My job is to tour
all the people and show them the outside,” Jaylin said proudly. “You
can eat some good cupcakes my mom makes and drink some lemonade, and
there are three different types of soups. I love mom-mom’s maple
brownies. I always eat them all. Be careful because it might be a
little hard to walk in the yard because we have lots of tractors.”
demonstrations and tours accompany all the goodies and tractors
during the annual Maple Weekend. To reach Butler’s Family Maple,
take PA-287 North from Route 6 past Hammond Lake. Turn left onto
Elkhorn Road. Drive 2.5 miles and then turn left onto Elkhorn Creek
Road. Drive one mile and the farm will be on the left.
information on the farm call Jody and Jennifer Butler at (570)
835-4983 or email