We all have a story: Something that tells the details of our past to explain the here and now, something that makes us unique and something that makes us remembered. We are the Gokey Family: two parents, four girls, four boys. Steve, Marsha, Andrew, Amanda, Adam, Alison, April, Austin, Alex and Amy and this is OUR story.
1992: We started as a young, childless couple and started a first-generation dairy farm in Trumansburg, NY.
1997: We moved four kids and the dairy farm to Malone, NY where we currently reside.
2015: Many years and eight kids later, we decided to venture into maple syrup production as a way to diversify. That January, our first taps went into a plot of maple trees we owned and at first, we did not have the facility or equipment to boil the sap into maple syrup. We made some agreements with some family friends who had a sugarhouse and ta da! we were on the road to making our very own pure Northern New York Maple Syrup!
2016: The summer of this year, we constructed our very own sugarhouse and purchased equipment to boil our own sap on-site.
2017: This was the first year that we boiled in our own sugarhouse and the end result was 300 gallons of maple syrup from the newly constructed “Marsha’s Maple House”.
2018: We became a member of the New York State Maple Producers Association and we also worked with a designer to create a logo for our new business. Most importantly, we signed a lease for a neighboring sugarbush, bringing us to approximately 6,000 taps!
2019: We switched our wood-fired evaporator over to fuel oil, purchased a new Reverse Osmosis system, installed an automatic draw-off system, purchased a brand new 7,000 gallon collection tank for sap and rented another sugarbush bringing us to a total of 9,000 taps for this year.
2020: We added onto our existing sugarbush, purchased a sap house to ease in sap collection in the woods, built onto our sugarhouse so our holding tanks for sap are enclosed and under cover and we purchased a new truck to be used for sap collection during sugaring season. We also learned how to make maple cream and added it to our product line once we perfected our technique, we started selling maple gift baskets, and we designed a website to help with online sales and logistics.
2021: Unfortunately, this year was not one for the record books. Due to the weather, this season was extremely short and we only produced about 55% of our anticipated yield but thankfully, we saw an increase in retail sales, especially around the holiday season. In May, we welcomed our son, Austin, back to the business after he completed a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business Management. Austin is very interested in the production end of the business which is helpful in terms of our business’ growth. This year, we also added an additional sugarbush into our businesses that put another 1,500 taps into production. This year we had boiled sap from 13,000 taps.
2022: Over the summer, we built a new sugarhouse and purchased a brand new and larger (5ft x 16ft) evaporator to accommodate our business’ growth. We saw a huge increase in retail sales this year, exceeded our holiday sale goal and increased our customer base across the US. We also purchased a maple candy machine with plans to perfect our technique!
2023: So far this year, we have signed a lease agreement for another 2,000 taps and will use our new evaporator and sugarhouse for the first time this season to boil sap from 15,000 taps. This new addition has made our business more efficient and will cut down on boiling time. Our goal this year is to learn how to successfully make maple candy and add it to our product line by Christmas for our annual gift basket sale.
This is a story that will continue to be written for years to come. This is OUR story.