The Burtons simply wanted to live on a farm in a rural community and enjoy the pleasures of raising their family in a small town. But an invitation from a friend to help a local family with their annual sap collection changed all that. As he watched the syrup being collected by hand, Tim was intrigued with the art and science of the maple syrup production process. But it was the social aspect of the event that truly inspired him. After giving the idea considerable thought, he decided to pursue the business of making maple syrup in partnership with his friends, David and Mary Abner, and Burton’s Maplewood Farm was established. Now, each year during maple syrup season the two couples’ family and friends help in the annual tradition of collecting maple sap to produce over 200 gallons of 100% pure Indiana maple syrup which they sell at local farmers’ markets and through an on-line country store.
Never forgetting that it was the social aspect of sap collection that truly delighted him, Tim wanted to create an opportunity for others to experience the joy of that process. In 2008, he established and hosted the first annual National Maple Syrup Festival where people from all over the nation gathered two miles north of Medora to celebrate the return of spring to the Midwest, enjoy live entertainment, observe demonstrations on blacksmithing, wool spinning, soap making, and participate in maple syrup making. The festival, the only one of its kind in the United States, was sponsored by the Heads Up!! Foundation and proceeds from the admission fees and concessions were donated to Riley Hospital for Children’s Camp About Face in Indianapolis. Festival activities will expand in 2009 to include a “baking with maple syrup” competition in cooperation with Indiana’s Clabber Girl Corporation.
Tim, who has plans to continue to grow the business (although he is quick to point out that the business seems to have taken on a life of its own these days), was encouraged by a friend to submit his syrup to the Indiana Artisan program. He, his partners, and family consider it an honor to be named an Indiana Artisan and are “proud to be in the company of the other Indiana producers who have also been chosen for this designation which recognizes a high level of commitment and skill to perfecting their chosen craft.”
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