I read a post on the Zingerman’s blog (Zingerman is a wonderful food shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan) about a guy near Lafayette, Louisiana, who is raising sugar cane, pressing it in a 19th century mill, and boiling it to syrup.
Old style, traditionally made, cane syrup made by Charles Poirier near Lafayette, Louisiana. Charles’ production is so small that it’s only slightly bigger than what would be called home-made. He’s doing the entire thing on his farm: growing the cane, crushing it, cook- ing it down, and bottling it. …
The yield is anything but high. “It takes about 15 gallons of juice,” Charles explained, “to make about a gallon of syrup. It takes me about 6 1⁄2 to 7 hours to cook it down. I cut all the cane by hand. I enjoy doing it. At first I was just making it and giving it to family and friends. But now, we’ve started to sell a bit of it.”
I was surprised I’d not heard of this guy, and poked around on the web. it turns out that, as recently as 2011, he was only making enough for friends and neighbors. On Jim Gossen’s Southern Food blog post, Gosen described his sugar making, with pictures.
There’s another picture on Flicker of Poirier with his cane press rig.
After reading the post on the Zingerman’s blog, I posted a note of frustration about missing out on this syrup, and got an immediate response that they’d do a phone order for the syrup. I ordered several bottles. They came in, filled with dark amber syrup.
Tasting it, I was impressed with the clarity of the syrup– a very clean taste. My favorite syrup I’d ever tasted (with apologies to my New England born mother, who immediately asked me “What about maple syrup?”). Lots of ideas came to mind, but the most clear was that this syrup cried out for biscuits.
It worked, as well as I’d pictured it. Highly recommended.