The Passion behind the Product
As the cofounder of a private equity firm with degrees from West Point and Harvard Business School, Robb Turner’s route from managing a boardroom to tapping sugar maple trees was far from direct.
Raising his own family in the suburbs, Turner wanted his kids to have a closer experience of nature—maybe not exactly like the Illinois farm where he grew up, but something untrammeled by the noise and distraction of city living. Four hundred acres of untouched forest in upstate New York filled the bill; and trying to protect neighboring properties from development resulted in the acquisition of almost 600 more acres. He named the property “Madava Farms” after his two daughters, and set about creating a family retreat. Syrup was the farthest thing from his mind.
One day, Turner was strolling the property with a neighbor, who wondered aloud what he intended to do with all those maple trees. And that question started Turner’s journey from weekend nature lover to syrup entrepreneur.
After performing his due diligence, approaching the property like any other investment possibility, Turner saw the opportunity to build a world-class maple operation with benefits beyond just the financial. “Introducing a premium, select quality maple syrup seemed the right fit for the land, the environment, and the community,” he says.
So Turner traded his vision of a private family sanctuary for something grander—a chance for his family to give back, to create a sustainable natural enterprise that would preserve a centuries-old environment while energizing and inspiring an entire community. Not to mention producing “quite possibly the purest maple syrup on earth,” he says.
For Turner, it all goes back to his child-hood in Illinois. “Being in nature, roaming the streams and patches of forest, ingrained in me an appreciation and respect for nature. To me, maple syrup isn’t just a food—it’s a natural resource, an edible bounty created in a self-sustaining environment. I’m now even more passionate about preserving and sustaining our world.” And what could be sweeter than that?
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