When Robb and Lydia Turner purchased an estate in Dover Plains, their plan was to create a country retreat that would allow Robb, who grew up as a farmer’s son in Illinois, to reconnect with the land.
“I had 800 acres that I loved,” Robb recalls, “but I had an intuition there was something I should be doing with the property other than just letting it sit.” Robb, a successful businessman working in the energy sector, wanted a way to protect the ecosystem of his land, offer a sustainable and organic product, and give back to the area economically. “Many ideas came up and nothing seemed to fit. After about 18 months, my neighbor asked me about mapling; it was perfect.”
He spent a year and a half researching the science, history, and best practices for maple sugaring before opening Madava Farms in 2010, named for his children, Madeline and Ava. Fast forward about seven years, and Robb’s family “retreat” is now tied for fourth place as the largest maple syrup producer in the United States, with Madava Farms’ brand, Crown Maple, available in more than 6,000 stores coast-to-coast — from specialty markets to Costco.
Completely organic “from bark to bottle,” their syrup has become the go-to in high-end kitchens of New York City — including Per Se and 11 Madison Park — and the Valley, with several chefs and brewers exclusively incorporating Crown Maple into their infusions.
Today, the Turner family, who started off with a “little family-company farm stand,” owns and maintains additional forest properties, creating a total of 800,000 acres of land devoted to sustainable mapling. And Robb believes this is just the beginning for their distinctly terroir-forward brand, “as consumers and chefs recognize maple syrup as a remarkable, robust and healthier natural sweetener.”