Maple syrup isn’t a novel new discovery; it has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. Legend has it that the first maple syrup maker was an Iroquois woman, the wife of Chief Woksis. One late-winter morning, the story goes, the chief headed out on one of his hunts, but not before yanking his tomahawk from the tree where he’d thrown it the night before. On this particular day the weather turned quite warm, causing the tree’s sap to run and fill a container standing near the trunk. The woman spied the vessel and, thinking it was plain water, cooked their evening meal in it. The boiling that ensued turned the sap to syrup, flavoring the chief’s meal as never before. And thus began the tradition of making maple syrup.
Fast forward to 2010 when Josh Parker was 11, on a school field trip he could see himself making and branding his own maple syrup product. Starting with just 15 trees and one pint of syrup boiled down on his Mother’s kitchen stove, his dream began to become a reality. At 16 Parker received investment to expand operations, adding 3500 trees and many thousands of gallons of syrup.
Josh calls his amazing growth just having the entrepreneurial spirit–it’s just the willingness and ability to work for what you want. Have a vision and fulfill that vision. You — I just set goals and don’t let myself fall short. And if I do, then the next goal has to be even higher and I have to work even harder for it.
Before you go and start tapping the trees in your back yard, Josh explains that the maple season is not easy. If you ask any maple producer, it’s the most fun four to six weeks of the year. But it’s the most — the most tiring. There’s barely any sleep. There’s I think three or four times a season where I went over 45 hours without sleep. I wake up in the morning. I go out. I get everything ready for the day. I go to school. Then I come home from school probably around 11:00 a.m. and I come home and I get everything ready in the woods. And get everything collected. And by the time I start boiling, it’s usually 9 o’clock at night. I boil until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning—sometimes 5:00 or 6:00. Josh does most of the work himself, hiring a few part-time employees in the beginning of the season to get started.
Today – Parker Maple Farm, LLC. is one of the fastest growing maple enterprises in the nation. Parker has successfully expanded sales into all 50 states and is ever working to capture more and more of the market. He states–“I want to prove that the American Dream is not dead; that there are still many kids in the United States who are industrious, innovative and entrepreneurial. My generation has the potential to be the strongest yet; however, this will only happen if we, as individuals in the generation, work hard to chase the American Dream and be the next ‘American Success Story.’”