Our story

Born and raised in the maple syrup capital of Ohio (Geauga County), you can say maple syrup is in Mark Metzger’s veins.  Now a retired Skipper of a U.S. Navy warship, he resides in Campton Hills, IL with his wife of 27 years. After 28 years  on the high seas, the Captain has become an avid “Land Lubber”: he’s a beekeeper, orchardist, master jam and maple syrup producer.

Captain Metzger in 2010
Inspecting Tanks as Chief Engineer of USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65)

“Mad About Maple.” In 2013 shortly after moving back to this part of the Midwest, I had an “Ah hah Moment”–you can tap maple trees of all varieties–in Ohio I recall only tapping sugar maples. Although Northern Illinois is lacking in Sugar Maples, an abundance of Red, Silver, Norway Maples (to name a few in the tree family) opened up the possibilities. Although I only had seven maples on the property, I talked generous neighbors into letting me tap their trees for free syrup. The first year I made just over a gallon of syrup on a fire pit in the back yard (it takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup). After giving syrup away as gifts to family and friends, I found that a gallon of syrup is easily consumed in a year’s time given that the only tie to tap trees is late Winter. So, each year I increased the output by increasing the number of neighbors willing to let me tap their trees and increasing the efficiency of the boiling process–from one gallon to three gallons to eight gallons. Then an interesting thing happened–the hobby became a business to the total chagrin of my wife. With a commercial “hobby” evaporator to boil sap, our yearly output exceeds the capacity to give away and consume…so I had to get rid of the syrup somehow!” In the end, there’s nothing better to get me outside in late Winter than making maple syrup.”

A maple sap droplet about to be collected in a bucket

The story behind Captain’s Gold®. We can’t take credit for the name, but after one good friend and his wife provided us with this testimonial–tasting notes–the idea of Captain’s Gold® was born. Here is their testimonial:

She: My, what a bright, delightful color. And the scent is so gentle and inviting.
He: I savor the pure Mapleyness of this ambrosia-like liquid and detect solid overtones of caramel.
She: Mmmm, there seems to be a slight hint of almond and a gentle vanilla aftertaste that rolls around the tongue and lingers on the palate.
He: Arrrgh, shiver me timbers matey! That Captain’s Gold could even make sawdust seem mighty tasty. 
She: Yes, it even helps bring your boring whole wheat waffles to life!
He: Just wait and see what happens when I can slather some pancakes with this stuff. Its so damn good it should be illegal!
And, on and on it goes in breakfast nooks all across the nation, America just can’t get enough of the skipper’s secret stash— that treasure trove of Mapley madness, Captain’s Gold!

Our bees doing what they do best