Like many of Highland County’s maple syrup producers, Bruce Folks began making syrup as a young child by helping to tap the same trees his family had for generations.
Early on, his uncle told him he could take over making the maple sugar candy and could keep the profit. The rest is history…
Today, Bruce continues to maintain the family sugar orchard and make maple syrup as well as an extensive line of maple products including maple fudge, maple covered nuts, maple suckers, and maple baked goods.
Bruce’s family sugar orchard stretches across three ridges – an area of 90 acres – in the Blue Grass Valley. There, he taps around 1,600 trees at the end of January and utilizes a vacuum tubing system to collect the sap. To tap the tree, Bruce uses a special adapter, which keeps the hole fresh, maximizes the sap flow over an extended period of time, and minimizes the impact to the tree. Additionally, Bruce monitors the intricate network of over 20 miles of tubing lines to ensure no damage is done from squirrels, bear, or other wildlife.
In 2016, Bruce completed construction on a new maple camp that now houses state-of-the-art equipment, which makes for a much more efficient operation. Thanks to his new Reverse Osmosis machine, an oil-fired evaporator, an updated filter press, and a modern water-jacked bottler, the camp can now produce the same amount of syrup in a 1/5 of the time it used to.
Bruce’s Syrup & Candies is a regular vendor at the: Highland Farmers’ Market, Harrisonburg Farmers Market, Highland County Maple Festival, Highland County Hands and Harvest Festival, Clifton Forge Shriners Festival, and Kriskindlmarket. Customers can also purchase syrup and products by contacting Bruce using email, Facebook Messenger, or by calling (540) 474-5661.
Sugar Camp Fun Facts:
- Bruce’s new Reverse Osmosis machine processes 1,000 gallons of sap per hour.
- The new oil-fired evaporator draws off over 20 gallons of syrup per hour.