Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Syrup Making in Daphne, AL

This past weekend I visited a small farm in Daphne, AL for a Cane Syrup Making Demonstration. The event is held the 2nd Saturday in November every year at the home of Carlos Wright, a fourth generation syrup maker. The event is held to teach and remember this nostalgic practice that reaches back in the history book of the south. The Wrights go through the whole process of making the syrup and tells of his life journey of hard work and perseverance. 
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.