This is Great River Maple.

Dan: How intense is making maple
syrup? And I said, “Which scar do you
wanna see?” Dorinda: Lot of people ask us,
“Maple trees…? Iowa? Are you
sure?” One of the reasons why is
because there was a fort… And after the Civil War… They would cut down trees and
float them down the Mississippi. They didn’t cut the maples down
because maples don’t float. So… all the maple trees are
here. Dan: And I started talking to my
older relatives, and they’re
like… “You know your great-grandfather
used to make maple syrup.” That would’ve been roughly in
the year 1880? Kinda brings up to modern day
where… Starting in the maple syrup
business was, uh… Something that… kinda was
forced on us a little bit? Dorinda: Yeah, well… our well
went out. So… It’s thirty-eight thousand
dollars to fix it… And we’re trying to figure out
how we’re going to fix it. So he has a forester out… Dan: And I went out to this
great big tree… Beautiful maple… And I asked the logger, I said,
“What’s that tree gonna bring
me?” (Because he’s just so purty!) He says, “About seventy-five
bucks.” And I just said, “Seventy-five
bucks?!” That won’t even make a foot of a
well to dig it! As he’s walking away, he says, “You have so many maple trees
here, you may as well tap ’em!” And my husband’s like… “Well, there you go. That’s what
I’ll do!” Dan: Then maple syrup became a
viable option, again. And maple syrup is a very good
challenge. Jeremy: When Dan first
started… He took about eight hundred
trees within the bush… And started tapping those trees
with buckets. Danielle: Started out, I
would come out and help Dad… Carry buckets to the tank
on the four-wheeler. Dan: I got up to a thousand
buckets… Danielle: And then realized
that… That was a lot of work. Jeremy: He would fall, he would
spill the sap as he was walking
back up the hills. Dan: The girls were like,
“Dad, next year we’re not coming
back if you don’t find a better
way to do this.” Jeremy: So as he got more
modernized, too, with his
technology… With his, methods out in the
woods, started putting lines
up… Then he was, obviously, able to
move a lot quicker… Produce more syrup.
And so he jumped up… You know, from a couple hundred
gallons… Last year we went over two
thousand… We always find that we aim
really high… And if we get anywhere close,
we’re happy with that. Dan: So many people wonder… “Isn’t all maple syrup organic?” It’s not. Not always just the trees… But the practices that it takes
to get that maple syrup into a
jar. We really like the term, you
know, “family”? Because to us that’s the highest
quality… Organic is the closest thing you
can get that people assign as
that kind of quality. And then as far as
sustainability in the woods… That’s very, very important to
us because… I’m tapping some of the same
trees that my great-grandfather
tapped in the late 1800’s. Now if he would’ve, somehow,
damaged those trees, they
wouldn’t be here for me. So, I wanna pass that on as
well. Jeremy: When you talk about Iowa
maple syrup… People don’t even realize we
make it out here. So it’s a lot of just educating
them to how it’s done… And helping them to see,
actually, the way we learned how
to do it… Was from producers out East. We’re just trying to emulate
what they’re doing with our own
twist on it. And I guess that’s what makes
Great River Maple unique is
because… It is our syrup we’re making
here in our way. Dorinda: Dan was super-excited
about a family business.
So was I! Alicia: We all have strengths,
and we all have weaknesses. And we’ve done a pretty good job
of finding… Each of our strengths, and then
focusing on that. Dan: We don’t have to best the
best at everything. We just have to be the best… At scrambling when there’s a
problem. And that’s a good example of the
breakdown of family: Everybody can do their own
thing, but… Just that fast everybody can
work together. You have days where we’re all
stressed out at each other
because nothing’s working… And the next day we’re all
sitting on the back porch
drinking coffee… Laughing about how horrible it
was. And that’s kind of the fun thing
about working with family is… As many bad days as you have,
you have way more good days. Trisha: This has been a really
awesome thing for our family. And it’s nice to see how much my
Dad loves it. Danielle: We do love working
with family… And it helps to all get closer. We come together for the
different events, the season,
the workload… Dan: Working with family, it’s
the best of the best… And it doubles your joy. And the tough days, are going to
be ones you laugh about the
most… And that cuts the toughness out
of it. Alicia: I think we treat you
like family. You know, we want you to feel
like you have a part of making
maple syrup. Dan: As a customer, make
yourself special. Come up, give me a hard time… A lot of you do, and you’re very
good at it! But make yourself known to me,
and I’ll remember you. I’m asking you to remember my
syrup. So, customers… maple syrup. Putting those two together is a
joy to us. It’s what we like to do, so… Welcome. Welcome to Great River Maple.

1 thought on “This is Great River Maple.

  1. Great River Maple is the bomb! I am so happy that a local company can provide this quality. This syrup is so much better than the big box store Vermont syrups. Expensive, yes, but the Great River Syrups will make your Sunday mornings. I recommend the robust or the bourbon. So good, so good! It is great that they are using and preserving one of the best hardwood trees. Well done Great River!

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