© 2018 by Storrs Farmers Market

The Storrs Farmers Market is proud to present an ongoing series of profiles featuring the friendly market vendors and sponsors you know and love! Get to know the faces behind your food and the amazing stories that contribute to our strong and growing local food community.

George Bailey, Mansfield, CT

June 2018

 

Meet George L. Bailey, Jr., a Mansfield-based maple syrup and honey producer who is one of the longest-running vendors at the Storrs Farmers Market.

 

In fact, George co-founded the market in 1994 with Bryan O’Hara of Tobacco Road Farm, and both are still going strong here every week!

 

We had the pleasure of visiting George at his home and chatting with him about beekeeping, maple sugaring, and life in Mansfield.

“From the time I was born, I was in the bee yard.” George comes from a long line of farmers, with his father running the poultry operation at Auerfarm in Bloomfield, CT, before starting his own, and his grandfather producing dairy and maple syrup on the family farm.


Above the mantle in the log home he built on Crane Hill Road, hangs a rare color photo of George with his late wife, Ann, and two of their three children around the breakfast table -- eating pancakes with maple syrup.

The yoke framing the photo was made by his grandfather.

George’s career as a civil engineer took him around the country to places like Texas and Oregon before he returned to Connecticut to work for the Federal Highway Administration.

 

These days George is enjoying his retirement, spending time with his family, and managing his six bee colonies and 375 maple taps.

Here at one of the bee hive boxes, George is using a metal canister filled with dried pine needles (a device called a smoker) to calm the bees before he checks on them.

In a typical year George produces 300-400 pounds of honey and 60-70 gallons of maple syrup.

George tends to his bees six days a week, with Sundays reserved as a day off. Even after all these years, “I still learn something new every year,” he says.

While maple sugaring season was long past when we visited, George walked us through the sugar shack where we noticed all the awards and memorabilia for his syrup.

A maple tap at rest in the off season. We’ll have to come back in early spring next year to check out the action!

George’s sweet cat is named Honey. (But of course!)

 

When asked how hard it is to avoid putting maple syrup and honey in absolutely everything, he answered, “extremely hard”!

Many thanks to George for taking the time to show us around! 

 

If you need an outlet for your maple syrup cravings, you can try George’s family recipe for Maple Syrup Pie.

 

1 single pie crust

1 ½ cups pure maple syrup

1 cup light cream or top milk

2 eggs

4 tablespoons cornstarch

6 tablespoons butter (unsalted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

 

Bake the pie crust. Cook all of the remaining ingredients in double boiler until thick. Cool. Pour into baked pie shell. Top with whipped cream. Enjoy!