DAY — Residents at the Advent Christian Village took a trip back in time last week.
The ACV visited Carl Driver on Nov. 16 to watch him make sugar cane syrup.
The process Driver has used to create Driver Family Pure Cane Syrup the past 20 years, takes about five hours to cook the sugar cane juice into syrup.
The process starts with having the leaves pulled off the sugar cane and the tops cut out. The pile of stalks are then pushed through a press machine that crushes all of the juice out of the sugar cane.
The juice fills up three tubs— burn barrels cut in half — which will fill up an 80-gallon kettle.
The juice is then poured into the kettle, which is heated to 226 degrees with a gas burner.
Driver then skims the liquid to collect foam and other pieces that will make the syrup not retain its smooth consistency. When it is done, there are about seven gallons that remain in the kettle to be bottled.
Once the syrup is drained from the kettle there is a coat of sugar stuck to the walls of the kettle that Driver wraps in wax paper like candy to sell.
With the one kettle of syrup he can make up to three cases of large-sized bottles and three more of small bottles. The large bottles are $10 ($90 for a case) and the small bottles are $7 ($70 for a case).
“I have a honor system if I’m not here and it has worked well so far,” Driver said.
Driver takes the leftover pieces of the sugar cane stalks and feeds them to his cows.
In addition to the syrup, Driver also sells watermelons, peanuts, sweet corn and cantaloupes during the different seasons. He goes to friends to pick the fruits, nuts and vegetables to sell.