Family keeps syrup-making tradition alive - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Family keeps syrup-making tradition alive

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December 2, 2005

Worth County- Even on brisk mornings Carlton Justice doesn't mind riding on his tractor, as long as it's keeping his mill running.

"I take the tractor and pull the mill around to squeeze the juice out of the cane," he says.

His wife and sister in law feed the mill with stalks of sugar cane grown on the Hartsfield Farm. The high-pitched whistle is a sign the mill is squeezing out every drop of juice possible.

"When I retired they asked me what I wanted to do, and I said I wanted to make some pure cane syrup. I hadn't had none in a long time because you can't buy it, not the pure. They claim it's pure, but it's not," Justice says.

That's why Justice and his brother-in-law Harley Parker pride themselves on making a product that has no additives and is made entirely from the juice of sugar cane.

"I used to make it whenever I was younger, but we started off this about four years ago down here doing it again," Parker says.

"Neither one of us had made any syrup in about 50 years when we started back. So, I think we're doing a pretty decent job at it," Justice adds.

Once they have enough juice to fill their kettle, Harley Parker spends nearly seven hours watching it boil and skimming the impurities off of the top.

"We start with 60 gallons of cane juice, and it boils down. When we get through we've got eight gallons and a half of syrup," Parker explains.

Though the two say making syrup is their hobby, they admit having an ulterior motive.

They teach the entire process to their grandchildren who they hope will become sixth generation syrup-makers and to Pre-K students who visit their farm.

Now the family is just hoping the excitement of making the syrup will stick with the children and inspire them to keep the sweet stuff flowing.

Justice and Parker don't sell their syrup. They say they enjoy the process so much, they just give it away to family and friends.

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