Miller’s Purely Maple Syrup
New Grades on Syrup:
Grade A amber rich (the light orange label) is a mix between what used to be the grade A medium and grade A dark. It is a good table syrup and has an amber coloring and a rich taste.
Grade A dark robust (the dark orange label) is what used to be the grade B. It has a more intense maple flavor.
At Miller’s Purely Maple, located about five miles north of US-6 between Mansfield and Wellsboro in scenic Tioga County, the highest-quality maple products are produced by Dale and Melanie Miller.
Dale and his brother started tapping trees and boiling syrup to give to his family and friends as a hobby in the 1970’s, but got out of the business for a few years. Then, he married Melanie, whose family produced maple on their farms, and once again sparked Dale’s interest in sugaring.
In 1995, they decided to begin again in earnest, tapping 100 trees and making forty gallons of syrup in that first year alone.
“We were hooked,” Dale said. “My wife enjoys doing it and making products from maple, so we decided to go bigger.”
A local farmer readying to retire sold his equipment to the Millers that fall, and the following spring, Dale and Melanie produced 180 gallons from 600 taps on the Miller Farm, with plans to expand in following seasons.
Dale and Melanie’s sons, Joel and Justin, helped on the farm throughout their growing years, but have now gone off to college, and it is unclear whether they will want to continue in the maple industry.
Dale and Melanie have created quite a business, averaging 1000 gallons of syrup produced on the farm each season, reaching a goal set for themselves in the early days of their business.
Though the Millers still fire with wood, their entire operation is on a tubing system, with underground pipelines to carry the sticky, sweet sap to the sugar house.
“Every tree we tap is on property we own,” Dale said. They currently maintain 5,000 taps on the sprawling 570-acre farm. Some 460-acres of this land comprised the farm purchased by his father in the 1940’s, added to Dale and Melanie’s holdings after his father’s passing.
The Millers try to reuse and recycle as much as possible. The fire wood used in the maple operation is all scraps generated by a baseball bat manufacturer in Troy, Pennsylvania. “It’s junk to them,” said Dale. “We recycle it so it doesn’t go to waste. Plus, it comes cut and split to a size I can use, so it saves me some time.”
The Millers use only food-grade plastic and stainless steel equipment to create prize-winning, preservative-free maple syrup.
Melanie also designs labels for her syrup bottles which highlight area attractions such as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Hills Creek State Park and other scenic views and cultural events.
If you are interested in learning more about Miller’s Purely Maple, visit their website at www.millersmaple.com.