Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 27, 1972 · Page 70
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 70

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 27, 1972
Page 70
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P. D. Hall of Arnoldshurg blades the cane in the field. Below, Bailey Wilson cuts the "bladed cane." Recipe for that Long Sweetenin' Photo Essay by Larry Pierre An Englishman would call it "treacle." Down East, they would know it as sirup. H e r e i n t h e m o u n t a i n s , i t ' s molasses--without which it ain't fittin' to bake a pot of beans. Whatever you call it, the end product of sweet sorghum cane and a lot of work is the long sweetenin' of an earlier year and the perfect companion of a hot, buttered biscuit on a cold winter morning. In these days of convenient supermarkets and grocery money or food stamps in the hands of most homemakers, the skills of putting up foods from the harvest are fast disappearing. Although you may spot an occasional cane mill in your travels around the state for the next few weeks, they are becoming more and more rare. But there is one place you still can definitely watch the old pioneer process of making sorghum molasses--and buy a jug 'right off the line--if you want. That's at Arnoldsburg, (Rt. 119 33) Calhoun County, next month: Sept. 28-30. Jn 1965, about 100 citizens around Arnoldsburg, interested in improving the local surroundings and opportunities for themselves and their youngsters, organized the West Fork Community Action, Inc. Three years later, in 1968, they held their first annual Molasses Festival. The purpose was twofold: to preserve the art of molasses making as it was practiced in early West Virginia agriculture; and to raise funds to develop, improve and maintain the West Fork Community Park. To the older members, the revival of making molasses brought back the "lean years" in Calhoun County during the late '20s and early '30s. But to the youth of the area, it has been a new experience. The process you will see in Arnoldsburg is older than your great granddaddy. The cane is bladed by hand, cut by hand, crushed in a horse-powered mill, evaporated over a wood fire. According to Glenna Fleming, who provided the informatiqn for this article, after the wood for the fire has been cut and dried, and the molasses making pan and cane-grinder set up, and all proper containers prepared, and the workers ready to go--the total process, from the cane in the field to the molasses in the jug, takes about three hours. This year will be the fifth annual Molasses Festival. Y'all come, 6m. CHARLESTON, W.VA. Sunday Gazette-Mail

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