WESTFIELD, Pa. (WETM) – With 200 acres and 80,000 maple trees to tap, Patterson Farms in Westfield, Pa. is the largest maple producer in Pennsylvania. The Tioga County stronghold was one of 21 farms participating in the 17th Annual Maple Weekend in Tioga and Potter counties.
The farm began in the mid-1920s with Terry Patterson’s great-grandfather. The farm started as a typical family farm, producing goods to trade.
“Great-grandfather started the farm. My grandparents made enough products to trade with the local stores for their own use,” Patterson Farms owner Terry Patterson said. “Through the mid 70s [my Dad] made more and continued to build that business. We’ve gotten it to the state that it is now where we ship stuff pretty much around the world.”
For many years, maple was not the primary product from the farm. It actually started as a dairy farm, but when the industry crashed in the 1970s and 1980s, the family pivoted to a new product.
“He [Terry’s father] took the maple and made it his passion. He made into what it is today,” co-owner Terri Patterson continued.
From humble beginnings to tapping thousands of trees per year, the family’s maple products can be found around the world.
“My chore now is to keep it going. Dad set up quite the operation here to take it from a hobby to the business that it is,” Terry Patterson added.
The Patterson’s look forward to Maple Weekend every year because it brings in visitors from across the Twin Tiers. They provide tours and tastings for guests, teaching them about their elaborate operation, which includes miles of tubing and computer tracking to get the sap from the forest to the farm to be processed.
“Our sales yesterday were phenomenal,” Terri Patterson said. “The people were phenomenal. We literally had people starting at nine o’clock. After a year, they’re just ready to get out and they were so excited to get out.”
Despite the pandemic, the Patterson’s were able to expand their farm, adding siloes to increase their sap capacity. This made their production process more efficient.
“It’s encouraging [to expand]. We employ several local folks here and kept them working,” Terry Patterson said.
The Patterson’s did feel the effects of the Coronavirus. Many of their larger orders were canceled or delayed because of the pandemic.
“We have huge wholesale accounts. In March, we had one on the dock, ready to go out and was cancelled. We had no orders coming in here from our wholesalers until July,” Terri Patterson continued.
Modern technology combined with traditional family values is what Patterson Farms is about. They want to promote and help other maple producers, just like their ancestors.
“The folks that come in and tap a tree in their yard and cook in their garage. We’re just as happy to help them. Same as my dad did in his day,” Terry Patterson concluded.
For for more with the Patterson’s and a virtual sampling of their syrups, click the video below.