In 1978, my parents, Charles and Lynn Buck, purchased a 110 acre dairy farm from Frank and Olive Payne on Fuller Road in Jefferson, NY. It would be their second dairy farm. Having been dairy farmers for decades and maple sugar hobbyists for nearly as long, they were excited about the large sap bush at Buck Hill Farm, and the possibility of having a second farm for one of their two sons to manage. Even though he started as a maple syrup hobbyist, my father was a firm believer in the idea that “more is better,” and enthusiastically embraced every technological advancement that came along. Always looking for a way to make the process more efficient, Mom and Dad knew that making consistently good maple syrup required strong determination and a commitment of time and energy. A very good description of the syrup making process and the innovative changes that took place can be found at: http://https//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup#Production
During the mid-’70s, while still in high school, I had the invaluable experience of watching my parents grow their business. When the Greenmarkets began in New York City Charles and Lynn were one of the first maple producers to market their products at Union Square, and they diligently cultivated a mailing list of both individuals and businesses. I remember well, the sense of pride they felt when they discovered that another fine restaurant in New York City was serving our syrup, and I remember my Mom’s excitement at preparing a package for someone as far away as Japan. While they were expanding their business with the help of four teenage children, life was getting ready to serve a very heavy blow. Sadly, their oldest son, C.J., died of leukemia at the age of 20 and subsequently, in 1987, the farm was offered for sale to me and my then new husband, Jeff Collins.
We purchased the farm in 1993 when our son Sam was born. 1993 turned out to be the biggest year and largest syrup crop yet to-date. The atmosphere of the farm that year must have had a deep impact on our little newborn, because it has been impossible to get him out of the saphouse* ever since!
Jeff and I continued taking products to the Greenmarkets in NYC and built a widespread wholesale business servicing restaurants, farm stands, and groceries throughout the 1990s. In 1995, shortly after our daughter Charlotte was born, we renovated the saphouse kitchen, began serving Sunday Breakfast, and expanded our product line. Breakfast at the saphouse has remained a very popular weekend destination and local favorite ever since. Charlotte can still be found waiting tables while home from college.
In recent years we have developed a more sustainable business model by eliminating long distance deliveries, maximizing production from our own land, and locally sourcing as many supplies as possible. I am very grateful for all the innovative technologies that are available to our business today and rely on UPS to consolidate my shipments. Sam is now a young man and is contributing his own expertise as we pursue our new goals. He oversees syrup production, sap bush management, land use, and livestock care, as well as building and machinery maintenance. He is a master at making do with what we have or doing without. He enjoys finding a balance between innovation and tradition.
We love visitors and strive to make anyone that visits our farm or stops in for Sunday breakfast, feel like family. I always say “you’re not going out for breakfast, you’re coming over for breakfast.” We know how blessed we are to live in this environment and community, and it's both our duty and pleasure to share it with you in the best ways we know how.
While breakfast is served only Sundays from 8am–1pm, our retail shop is open every day from 9am–5pm, and you can often observe whatever product is in the making. If, however, there is work to be done outside, we don’t always man the desk. If you are coming from a distance, we recommend you give us a call first so that we don’t miss you: 607-652-7980.
*Our regional term for the typical New England “Sugarhouse."