We would like to introduce you to our family here at Grandpa Joe’s.
Grandpa Norman McKenney (grandson to Grandpa Joe) aka “Big Papa” and Director of Public Affairs. He’s the official meeter and greeter on Maple Sunday.
Steven McKenney (son of Norman and Pearl McKenney) aka “Baby Papa” and our (MDF) Maintenence Department Foreman. He oversees everything from broken pipelines to leaky pans and electrical outages, and his favorite the “taste tester”.
Ben McKenney (son of Steven and Maureen McKenney) aka “the Maple Man” and CSM- Chief SugarMaker. Ben oversees the maple production process and sales division. He reports directly to Big Papa and CCO.
Jen McKenney (wife of Ben) aka “Mrs. Ben” and CCO (Confection Control Officer). Mrs. Ben oversees all maple candy, nuts, lollipops, needhams, popcorn, whoopie pie, and butter production as well as the outside event venue coordinator.
Candice O’Brien (aunt to Ben and Jen) aka “Chef Candace”. Watch her flip a pancake, crack an egg and direct traffic all while singing Harper Valley PTA. She makes a mean sweet sausage bomb! Be sure to check out her chef’s hat.
Holly O’Biren (sister to Candice, aunt to Ben and Jen,) aka Assistant Grilling Expert. She’s the best prep cook around, fast, dependable and ready to take your order.
Welcome to Grandpa Joe’s Sugar House! In 1916, Joses H. Murch, my great great grandfather, started Murch Dairy in North Baldwin, Maine. “Joe” Murch or Grandpa Joe known to most in town, had a milk route that covered Baldwin and Sebago, Maine. He delivered and sold raw milk to local stores and homes.
When my grandfather Norman was old enough to carry a grain bag he began working on the farm and then started raising poultry as well as other animals and vegetables to be sold and canned. The milk route was sold to Silver Ledge Dairy in Gorham in 1957, but the poultry business still continued. In the 1970’s poultry was a large business at Murch Farm, with flocks of 5,000 chickens raised free range and shipped to Revere, Massachuesettes where they were blessed by a priest and harvested.
In the late 1980’s my father Steven and I started making maple syrup in our front yard with a homemade barrel evaporator that he built We eventually upgraded and purchased a 2×6 Leader evaporator with a steam away In 1994 we built the original sugarhouse known today as Grandpa Joe’s Sugar House. Today it serves as the outlet for maple production and retail sales for the farm.