Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Know Your Farmer: Goodell Family Farm

Second in our "Know Your Farmer" series is an entry from Goodell Family Farm of Mantua. Goodell Family Farm has particpated in our Shaker Square Market for many years! They specialize in maple syrup and maple products.

"Goodell Family Farm is a seventh generation family farm dating back to 1825 when Jonas Goodell purchased the original farm site. Presently, three generations are involved in the farm business. Virginia, two of her sons and their wives Jay/Barb and Bruce/Sherry and Jay’s son and his wife Nathan/Rebecca are active on the farm. There has been many changes over the years, but one continuous venture for the Goodell family has been maple syrup. With great tradition, we take great pride in our maple syrup.

The 2011 season has concluded and it was a very successful year. Compared to last year’s poor season we doubled our maple production. The season started earlier than usual on February 15 and ended late on April 5, creating a long span of favorable maple syrup weather. Light amber maple syrup was the dominant grade produced this year, but plenty of medium amber and grade B were also made.

In an effort to continuously improve upon our maple operation, we introduced disposable spiles into our maple tubing system. By using a new spile each year, the tap hole will remain cleaner and therefore more productive throughout the season. In addition, the new spiles are 1/4 inch compared to the previous 5/16 inch spiles, which means a smaller hole for the tree to heal.

If March isn’t busy enough, we also hold our own pancake breakfast for three Sundays in March. The buckwheat or plain pancakes are served with sausage and, of course, our own Goodell Maple Syrup. Local residents, as well as, distant visitors have enjoyed these Sunday breakfasts for nearly 30 years.

Currently we are working on an exciting tree planting project. We have enrolled an old hay field that is surrounded by our woods into the NRCS’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The nearly 10 acres is being planted with 5 different species of trees: Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Red Oak, Black Cherry and Tulip Poplar. Half the trees will be Sugar Maple with the other half divided between the remaining species. It will take close to 20 years before the maples will be large enough to tap. Also included in the project will be a pollinator strip for bees and butterflies.

Amongst all the madness that fills the maple season was a wonderful addition to the Goodell family. Evan Jaymes Goodell was born on March 30 to Nathan and Rebecca Goodell and big brother, Ryan. The next farming generation is expanding and learning about the traditions and joys of growing up on an active farm. Now that the maple season has finished we are turning our attention to the other farm responsibilities, the dairy cows, grazing and hay season, and farm markets."

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