Published Aug 04, 2013
“We like to take the bark from the Shagbark Hickory tree because it keeps the tree sustainable, it doesn't harm the tree in any way.”Joyce Miller, Falling Bark Farm
Travis and Joyce Miller produce small batch hickory syrup the old fashioned way in Berryville, Virginia.
The first step is foraging the forests for fallen bark from the Shagbark Hickory tree, and other varieties of Hickory trees. Back home they clean, roast, and create an extract from the bark before making the various flavors.
Falling Bark Farm is keeping alive this often overlooked Native American tradition, and creating a delicious local condiment for your enjoyment!
I'm Travis Miller, and my name is Joyce Miller and we own Falling Bark Farm in Berryville Virginia.
The first step in starting to make hickory syrup would be to gather the bark. We like to use the bark from the shagbark hickory when that's available. We do use other barks, whether it be a pignut hickory, and we do take the opportunity to blend those barks. They don't necessarily need to be from one particular hickory tree.
We like to take the bark from the shagbark hickory tree because it keeps the tree sustainable - it doesn't harm the tree in any way.
Travis decided after retirement that he wanted to go sell an item at a farmers market. One of the things he was going to do was hickory syrup and we found out there were only a couple of people in the country making it, and then he got the bright idea - you know, maybe I can make that.
Actually Travis decided that he would order four cases of bottles, took them to the farmers market and said what in the world am I going to do with 48 bottles of syrup if this stuff doesn't sell.
No one taught us how to make it, it was trial and error. Travis is constantly experimenting with all forms of cooking.
Basically we tested it on the kids. Our kids are grown and they would come home, Travis would fix some waffles and breakfast and he'd say - ok "how do you like that syrup?" And they'd go, "oh thats really good". Or, "you need a little more sugar in that". Or, "not as much, or a little more extract - it needs to be a little thicker."
We do make not only the original hickory syrup, we also do the hickory syrup thats infused with brandy and there's a vanilla bean incorporated into the bottle. Also we do a barrel aged, and one that just has the vanilla bean inserted.
I like living in Berryville and in Clarke county. The slower pace allows us to take the time to perfect something, where we don't have to rush through it.
In our simple life we think its a simple process it actually has a lot of value to many, many people.