About Us

The Dodds family began making maple syrup on this property in 1917 when Harold Dodds purchased 200 acres of land from Hugh McIlraith. A bachelor at that time, Harold was the sixth owner of the property since patent was granted in 1837. He collected sap from about 1200 taps with the help of a hired man, using a team of horses and sleigh. He then processed the sap with a 4' x 12' Dominion and Grimm wood fired arch with Lightning pans.

In 1933, Harold married Bea Stephens, a local school teacher from Foresters Falls. Together they operated a diverse farm with a major focus on maple in Lanark Township. They had two sons, Glenn and Don who were raised with maple flowing in their veins. One of the first things that Bea did after they were married was name the farm "Springdale Farm" because of its location at the edge of a valley and the Dodds Scottish heritage.

Their early records show that the maple syrup was sold for $1.60 per gallon and maple sugar for 12 cents per pound. They continued to produce maple syrup until 1969, a period of over 50 years. One of Harold's favourite sayings about sugaring was "large cake of sugar, small loaf of bread". If it was a good year for maple, it meant it was a long cold spring and this resulted in a poor grain crop. Bea's favourite maple saying was "that the first sap run of the season was like a first kiss; it was always the sweetest".

In 1983, Don and Marion and their sons Bryan and Stephen built a new home on the farm and also constructed a new steel clad sugar camp at a new location in the sugar bush and became equipment agents for Waterloo Evaporators. This new site was more accessible to hydro and more suitably located for plastic tubing and a pumping station for the sap. In December of 1983, tubing was installed and made ready for the 1984 spring season. In January of 1984 a new evaporator was installed in the camp with all new processing equipment. The sap is all drawn to the pumping station by a Sihi wet vacuum pump and electric Lapierre dumper, where it is filtered and then pumped to a 1200 gallon stainless steel storage tank.

The sap was then processed into syrup by a new Waterloo evaporator and packed in containers for regular clients that returned yearly to sample one of nature's true delights. One of the family highlights was that Marion's father, Charles Brown, who was in his eighties, enjoyed coming to the sugar camp in the maple season to help pack the syrup. The fourth generation of Dodds' sugarmakers, Bryan and Lori's children, Kristen, Jennifer and Emily help with various springtime chores at the sugar camp.

In 2004, the Dodds family installed a new 3' x 12' Lapierre/Waterloo/Small evaporator equipped with tig welded stainless steel pans, preheater and steam hood. At the same time a Lapierre reverse osmosis machine was installed to remove up to 60% of the water from the maple sap, thus reducing the fuel required to boil the sap into syrup as well as significantly reducing labour. The syrup that comes off the evaporator is then finished in a 2' x 5' Lapierre / Waterloo / Small finishing pan. Proper density is achieved through careful monitoring using a thermohydrometer and an automatic draw-off. Our award winning pure maple syrup is then filtered and pumped to a water heated filling tank and packaged into containers at 180° F for our customers. Most of the syrup and value added maple products (maple butter, maple sugar, maple jelly, fudge, suckers) are marketed at the farm gate or through internet sales.

In 2009, Springdale Farm won the David Eaton World Champion Maple Syrup Award at the Royal Winter Fair. This championship maple syrup was presented to Prince Charles when he opened the Royal Winter Fair. Stephen Dodds, of Springdale Farm spoke with Prince Charles during the Prince's tour of the fair. Springdale Farm also won the Premier Exhibitor Trophy for the highest point total in all maple syrup categories as well as C. P. Corbett Trophy for the highest point total for value added maple categories. We were repeat winners of the Premier Exhibitor Trophy and the C. P. Corbett trophies in 2010. Family tradition and expectation requires that each generation will implement procedures and techniques that will result in higher quality maple syrup and maple products.

The Dodds family has been a steward of the forest for over 95 years. Located near the eastern edge of the Canadian Shield in Lanark County some trees show signs of dieback which is likely due to the advanced age of the stand and the stress placed on them by the 1998 ice storm. Proper woodlot management is now carried out with the co-operation of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), to improve the maple stand for future generations. In 1983, the OMNR marked the woodlot, designating all the trees they felt should be removed in order that the healthy maple trees could continue to grow and so new maples would replace the weaker or diseased ones. This removal of trees is always done keeping in mind the needs of the birds and animals that inhabit our maple woods. In 2005 we began planting a maple orchard on our farm. It is our hope that we will be able to continue this planting on an annual basis resulting in a healthy maple orchard being established for the enjoyment of future generations. 

Continuing on with the family tradition, on January 01 2011, Stephen purchased Springdale Farm Maple Equipment and Supplies from Don and Marion and he is now the sole owner of the equipment side of the business.