It's a Sticky Business Making Stalk into Syrup

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ENTERPRISE -- Syrup makers call it a lost art. The process of turning a field of sugar cane into the perfect pancake topper.

Earl Stokes spends his fall weekends making the golden liquid from his Enterprise home. He explained the tedious process of making syrup.

First, the cane must be stripped and topped on the top and the bottom. Then, the stalks are taken to the cane mill where they are ground down and turned into cane juice. The juice is dumped into a large kettle to cook for three hours.

During this time, syrup makers make sure they are filtering the syrup so that all impurities are removed. They do this by sifting through the liquid and using a sponge around the edges of the kettle to soak up the impurities.

"We make sure that we get all the skimmings off and we want a clean, pretty looking syrup," Stokes said.

When the syrup reaches the necessary thickness, makers run it through one more filtration and begin bottling it.

For those interested in learning the skill, the Alabama Syrup Makers meet on the first Saturday of each month at Ryan's Steak House in Enterprise at 8:00 a.m.

"Talk to someone that's been doing it," Stokes said. "It's not a good thing to just start out on your own without some guidance."

If you would like to contact Stokes for his syrup you can reach him at 334-494-3316.