July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

It takes a family to operate Maple Valley Farm

Special to The Gazette

Maple Valley Farm started out as a family operation, and that’s how it continues today. After the death of his father, Gene, Steve Fulton took on the farm’s major responsibilities, along with his wife, Beth. But the rest of the family plays a big role in the day-to-day operations.

Steve and Beth’s son Andrew, 21, works full time on the farm. Like his father, he sports a curly, reddish beard. Their daughter Rebecca, 21, works in Medina as a veterinary technician but still handles some of the milking, while Kimberly, 19, feeds the calves every night — as well as working three other jobs. When he isn’t in school, 14-year-old son Cory works full time on the farm.

Steve’s sister Cheryl doesn’t live on the farm, but she helps with the books and the taxes; another sister, Brenda, helps with milking and takes care of calves. Steve’s youngest sister, Kelly, helped on the farm while she was growing up but now lives with her family in Dalton.

Finally, Maple Valley Farm wouldn’t be what it is without Grace Fulton, Steve’s mom, who lives right next door. Grace keeps the books and also safeguards the family’s memories. Scrapbooks full of newspaper clippings and photographs document the years Grace and Gene spent running the farm with their busy family. Among Grace’s memories: traveling with Gene to visit maple sugaring operations of all sizes and types, “from the very old sugar camps to the modern ones,” Grace said.

She admitted to liking the old ways best.

“But it was a lot harder,” she said. “It’s still a lot of work. Goodness’ sake, it’s a lot of work.”