BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla.(WMBB)–The Pioneer Settlement opened its doors Saturday, to let community members watch how they turn sugarcane into ‘Papa’s Best Cane Syrup.’
Owners said Pioneers were the first to make syrup from sugarcane and Pioneer Settlement founder Williard Smith said, he wants to keep the tradition alive.
“This is the type of thing that the Pioneers did here,” Williard said. “This was their sugar, this was their sweetener, and this was a product that people could sell. Now we just carried on the tradition. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worthwhile for the younger generation to get involved and learn the process.”
The Pioneer Settlement uses a plow and equipment from the 1900s to gather and squeeze cane from the stalk.
Smith said they wake up bright and early on November Saturdays to start the syrup-making process and it last all day.
“It’s the labor-intensive everywhere you go because you have two people feeding the cane in, two people on the back side pulling the empty stalks, and also directing the juice and now strain in it,” Smith said.” Then we put it into the kettle and we start cooking it and we have to cook our kettle in a hundred-gallon kettle and we have to cook nine a gallon of water out of it. Finally, we have the Syrup.”
The Pioneer Settlement only make’s homemade syrup in the month of November.
“It’s a time that is mature, it’s just before the freeze, and the sugar content is a little higher in it than the rest of the time. It’s still growing,” Smith said.
The Pioneer Settlement then bottles syrup in containers for anyone to buy. November 26 is the last week of the year the Pioneer Settlement will be making syrup.
The Pioneer Village will sell homemade sugar cane in its stores.