About Sterling Valley Maple
Sterling Valley Maple is a family owned maple producer. Located in Lewis County, NY, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, three generations of maple producers tap thousands of trees every spring to produce pure maple syrup. Josh and Gena Stamp work together with Gena’s parents- Bob and Val Keefer- and their son to produce and sell maple syrup.
The name “Sterling Valley Maple” is a recent addition to a long family tradition, and the name has significance to us as well. Maple has been in Gena’s family, the Keefers, for generations (really, we have no idea how many generations, but it’s a lot). Here in upstate New York, most dairy farmers at some point have also made maple syrup. It helps to fill in the winter/spring, which is a “down time” for crop farmers. Gena remembers as a child being loaded into a tractor pulled wagon and heading back into the boiling shed in the woods to make maple syrup. Bob was involved for years, but then took a break and Gena went off to college and then lived away from northern New York for several years.
At college, Gena met and married Josh, and eventually dragged him back to her hometown to live. In the meantime, Bob became close to the sweetest elderly man at church, Ben Yousey. Ben and his family, back in the day, had a maple operation until Ben retired (there was no family living close by to take it over). Well, Bob and Ben got talking, and hatched up a crazy plan to restart Ben’s sugaring operation. Josh jumped in full force, because although his family had never made maple syrup, the scientific aspects of it, along with his enjoyment of the outdoors, was a perfect fit. We got going in 2010, and have so many memories of Ben and his daughter Lena sitting in the shanty, visiting, tasting maple syrup, and just enjoying every minute of it. Ben would stay until the end of boiling each evening, long after Gena had gone home and went to bed! We boiled “back at Ben’s” for 3 years with him there with us. Ben’s woods and shanty was far off the beaten path, and at times required a tractor to get back to. Through these years, we came to know the rest of Ben’s family, and his daughters visited the shanty, where they had made maple syrup as kids.
Ben peacefully died in 2012 at the age of 91. We were so glad to get to know him in his later years. His family graciously passed on the sugaring operation to us, and we continued to make maple syrup “at Ben’s” for 4 more years. At that point, Ben’s shanty was at least 70 years old, with an evaporator that was 60 years old and starting to leak more every year. We made the difficult decision to move our shanty location to a more central location to our homes and trees in Croghan, and in 2016 and 2017, built our new shanty on the Croghan Reservoir Road. Josh and Gena took a crazy weekend trip to Vermont to buy a used evaporator (that’s worthy of a whole story on its own) and gradually added more equipment and a commercial kitchen to our operation. The valley that we are located in was originally owned by the Yousey family and siblings, Daniel, Sterling, Ellen, and Arlene (distant relatives of Ben’s). A pond on the road, next to the original homestead, has been referred to as “Sterling’s Pond.” And from there, the name Sterling Valley Maple was born! If you look for Sterling Valley on a map, you will not find it, but don’t worry, we’re here :-).
In 2018, Josh decided to become a full-time maple producer. Since then, we have continually added tubing and new taps every year (we have retired the traditional buckets in favor of more efficient tubing), branched out to Farmer’s Markets in Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and New York City, and maintained a successful website that sends syrup to customers throughout the country. Our syrup can be purchased at local businesses in Croghan, Boonville, and Utica and several stores throughout the country.
We’ve also added new products! In addition to the traditional Amber and Robust syrup, we also feature sugar cakes, maple cream, maple sugar, maple glazed walnuts, Bourbon Barrel-Aged maple syrup, and cinnamon and orange infused syrup (new in 2021)
We would like to take a minute to thank everyone who has played a part in making Sterling Valley Maple successful. The list is large, and we feel very lucky to have these people in our lives. Many thanks to our parents, the Ben Yousey family, all those who have helped tap and walk tubing lines, our graphic designer Scott (who is fantastic!), and our customers-you all make this business, and life possible. We look forward to many more years of making high quality, organic maple with our family and the next generation.