In 1976 Craig’s dad, Pat McDivitt, and Uncle, Denny Dietrich, decided to start making syrup in a small shed on the Dietrich property in Parkman, Ohio, tapping mainly roadside trees. A year later, realizing the profitability of sugaring, The McDivitt family decided to build a sugar house on Craig’s great Grandma McDivitt’s property in Troy, Ohio to help pay for the taxes on her farm. Pat and his dad, Robert, tore down a garage on a relative’s property and used the materials to build the sugar house pictured above. This is where Craig’s fondness for making syrup began. He remembers riding in the sap wagon to help gather, and eating Fig Newton’s that his Grandpa McDivitt kept in a small metal cabinet. This operation lasted for about 10 years until the farm was eventually sold. Although not in use, the sugar house still stands today.
Fast forward to 2013, we just had our first son, Mason. Craig was thinking about starting his own maple syrup operation as a hobby. He had such fond memories of sugaring with his family as a child, he decided to buy a small evaporator during the winter of 2013. He spent the next year researching and learning as much as he could about maple syrup production. In the fall of 2014 we purchased a 12x16 shed with the intentions of transforming it into a sugar house by building a cupola on the roof. In the spring of 2015, we tapped our first tree. It was a good year as far as getting our feet wet.
Near the end of sugaring season in 2015, our oldest son, Mason, was diagnosed with moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder. It brought our syrup production to a screeching halt. It was a rough few months for our family, we were not even sure if we were going to be able to continue with our small maple syrup hobby. In June of 2015 we were able to get Mason into a small Autism school in Youngstown called The Rich Center for Autism. It was the answer to our prayers. By the fall of 2015 we realized that we needed another source of income. In November of that year, We went to the Lake Erie Maple Expo in Albion, Pennsylvania. I took three classes that got my wheels turning, maple confection, making value added products and gift basket making. By the beginning of 2016 McDivitt Family Maple was born.
Since then we have grown our operation drastically: we purchased a new evaporator, reverse osmosis, preheater, we purchased all new storage tanks, finished the inside of the sugar house, and added two additions on the outside of our sugar house. We’ve come a long way in a short time, we’ve done a lot of learning, some of it the hard way. Nevertheless, we are continuing to learn, grow, and have fun with our boys and family in the process.