Beyers Maple Farm: Making Maple Syrup
one drop at a time!
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Photo courtesy of marybethflatau.com
Photo courtesy of marybethflatau.com
Thank you to Mary Beth Flatau Photography for the beautiful photographs.
Visit http://www.marybethflatau.com/.
Beyers Maple Farm is locally owned and operated by 2 Marine Corps Veterans,
Mark and Denise Beyers.
Our journey together started more than 21 years ago when Mark and I started dating in high school in 1996. A few years after graduating high school we both decided to join the Marine Corps Reserves. After completing boot camp and our job training/infantry school in 1999, we completed a total of 8 years in the Reserves with India Company 3/25 in Buffalo, NY. In 2005, 3rd Bn, 25th Marines was activated and sent overseas to Iraq. Mark went to Iraq while I stayed back with the Peacetime/Wartime Support Team. Our Battalion was in country for 9 months and was heavily engaged in direct combat with insurgent groups such as Al-Queda. We suffered many casualties including 46 Marines and 2 Corpsmen Killed In Action as well as many wounded. On August 26, 2005, while on foot patrol with his squad, Mark was severely injured by an Improvised Explosive Device made of two 155mm artillery shells that were buried on the side of the road. Mark was closest to the bomb and it severed his body causing amputations of his right arm above the shoulder and his right leg below the knee as well as critical blast injuries to his abdomen and chest. He was taken to Balad, Iraq where they put him in a drug induced coma. They flew him to a hospital in Landstuhl, Germany where he underwent many surgeries to save his life. Once he was stable enough, they prepared him for the flight back to the United States. About a week after he was injured, I flew to Bethesda, MD where I awaited his arrival at the National Naval Medical Center, the top hospital in the U.S. I greeted him as he was being transferred into the ICU and he awoke for the first time since he was put in a drug induced coma. In all, he underwent 39 surgeries and dealt with many infections from the blast. Mark spent a few months in Bethesda and then was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to get fitted for prosthetics and for physical and occupational rehabilitation. It wasn't until a year later that Mark was discharged and we were able to return to our lives back in Buffalo, NY.
Once we were home, we had many more daily challenges to overcome. We lived in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment and Mark had a very hard time getting around in his wheelchair. The bathroom was so small that he couldn't fit his wheelchair through the door. He fell a few times because he would hop on one leg to use the bathroom and take a shower. A few months later we found and bought a house we fell in love with; a one story ranch, partially handicapped accessible home in the country with 15 acres and a gorgeous view of Buffalo and the surrounding areas. In 2008, we had our house adapted by Homes For Our Troops and made handicapped accessible to accommodate Mark's disabilities. Semper Fi Fund also donated a large sum of money to the project.  He was finally able to get around in his wheelchair with ease which allowed him to be more independent.
Fast forward to 2009, Mark was sitting in the woods hunting when a red Maple leaf fell into his lap. He looked around and realized our woods had many Maple Trees. We decided to tap some trees the following spring of 2010 to make Maple Syrup. Once we started, we were addicted! Originally we started making it as a hobby. Each year we learned new skills and read more books and have become fascinated and passionate about the process of making Maple Syrup. In 2011 we had an addition to our family; our first child, Eva and our second daughter, Gracie was born Sept. 2015. Our girls are the light of our lives. We are so happy that we can start new family traditions and teach them all there is to know about making Maple Syrup, growing healthy, organic food and how to cook, prepare and preserve it.
Photo courtesy of marybethflatau.com
The pictures above are from the 2010 Maple Season, our first year making syrup! We had a make-shift evaporator made from an old wood stove with a flat pan on top of it. In 2011 we had a half pint Leader Evaporator. In 2012 we acquired a new 2x8 LaPierre Waterloo Small Evaporator.