The first step in making the syrup after it’s harvested is to feed the stalks through a mill. The mill used to be powered by mules or horses, the Wrights however rigged their 200 yr-old mill to be powered off a tractor. Liquid is squeezed out of the cane and collects in a barrel. The shredded stalks are discarded to the back.
It takes several gallons of the cane juice to make a single gallon of syrup. Once the juice has been collected it is slowly cooked in a large bat. The liquid is heated at a steady temperature to boiling. While the syrup is cooking someone skims the impurities off that rise to the top using a skimmer.
The process from cane to syrup takes several hours, making this old-fashioned tradition a time of celebrating and coming together with friends, family, and community. While we waited for the syrup to complete it’s process we enjoyed the afternoon absorbed in culture and enjoyed some fine home cooked dining. The Wrights had their antique farm equipment on display. They also sold greens and produce grown locally on the farm. The money raised by the event is donated to Cancer Research.
Here is a small clip of the syrup making in action.