If you’re lucky, you might score a bottle of Funks’ legendary maple sirup. The Funk family has been tapping maple trees and making sirup since 1824, back when patriarch Isaac Funk was swapping stories and splitting flapjacks with his good friend Abraham Lincoln.
You’d be hard-pressed to tap a family tradition that runs any deeper, and you can taste this heritage in an end-product based on their tree-friendly approach to a time-honored process. It takes 35–50 gallons of pure sap to create a gallon of maple sirup, and in every pour, you can savor every moment it took to harvest each sweet, sticky drop.
This historic grove of maples was originally tapped by Native Americans for their sugary magic long before there was a Funk family to call this region home. Not only did Native Americans use sirup to season corn and vegetables, but they also added it to their fish and meat.
When the Funks settled the area in the early 19th Century, they couldn’t have envisioned their business idea blossoming into a 7th-generation entity now using some 6,400 taps from 3,000 trees to harvest more than 2,000 gallons of sirup each year. What started almost 200 years ago is now a glorious tradition for lovers of the Groves’ maple-rich bounty.
Visit the Funks family store in the town of Shirley, where you’ll discover a variety of take-home sirups, sweet candies, gift boxes and more. And you’ll also come to the realization that sometimes the old ways of doing things are still the most delicious. If you’re wondering why the Funks spell it “sirup” instead of “syrup”, you’ll need to stop by and talk to Debby, Mike or Sean. They won’t give away the family secret recipe, but they will share the tale of why the name Sirup stuck here in Funks Grove.
Discover more Illinois makers and artisans at Illinois Made.