BY ZOIE CLIFT | ARKANSAS PARKS & TOURISM
The festival takes visitors back to the days when most families grew a field of cane and made their sorghum every fall. Sorghum, or molasses as it is sometimes called, was a staple in most families that carried them through the winter.
The tradition takes center stage on the museum grounds each fall. According to Emilie Kinney, Director of the Heritage House Museum via a news release, the cane is brought in from the field and squeezed on site using two mills. “The small one is operated by a harnessed mule and the larger one is engine driven. The thick green juice is cooked until it reaches just the right consistency of rich amber syrup.”
There will be free sampling of sorghum on site and other sorghum products available for tasting and buying.
Cane was grown, along with other crops, so a family could have sorghum molasses throughout the year. The stalks were hauled by wagon to the mill. Powered by a horse or mule, the mill pressed the juice from the cane. Then the juice was cooked in a copper pan until it reached the right consistency for molasses.
Folks at the museum are harnessing mules to operate the mill for grinding and juicing and will have sorghum cooking.
Rural families depended on sorghum as a kitchen staple during the winter months. It provided nutrients and was a standard sweetener in most homes. Many folks recall the typical breakfast of hot biscuits, butter and thick sorghum.
There is no fee to attend the festival. Activities will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 2, and will “probably last till mid-afternoon.” The Heritage House Museum of Montgomery County is at 819 Luzerne St.