Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cane Syrup and Crafters

My dad used to tell of taking ribbon cane to the mill to be squeezed for syrup.  Ribbon cane syrup was his favorite flavor, maple syrup just couldn't appeal to him.  He often told of walking to school carrying a syrup can holding his lunch of biscuits and sausage with syrup poured over it.  In his opinion, that was the best lunch a schoolboy could have.

When we learned that the nearby town of Henderson, TX was hosting it's annual Cane Syrup Festival, it was an irristable draw.  Last Saturday morning the air was crisp and cool, definitely Fall had arrived in northeast Texas.  As we traveled through the forests we saw many colors of leaves against the deep green pines.  I wish our little point-and-shoot camera could give a good photo of how wonderful the colors are.

The first thing we saw when we arrived at the festival on the Old Depot grounds was the cane mill and syrup cooker.
Cane is fed into the mill which is turned by a mule walking around the corral.  This mill is set up with a barrel to collect the juice which is piped over to the cooker.

A large shallow pan heated by burning the squeezed cane cooks the moisture out of the juice until it is syrup consistency.  It runs down into the barrel in the center of the photo.  I saw syrup being drained into jars from the barrel.
The syrup made there could not legally be sold so they were selling syrup made by a business in nearby Rusk.  We bought a can, of course.  Served some with our toast for Sunday breakfast.  YUM!

There were many craft demonstrations and entertainment along with crafts offered for sale.  We didn't sit for the music shows but heard dulcimers and other music in the background.  We saw the old time print shop and the cotton gin that are part of the permanent display there.

Please visit my photo album to share some of the fun going on.  Sugar Cane Syrup Festival