Syrup Rules

By: Jason Davis
By: Jason Davis

Hundreds of years ago when the first settlers came to the panhandle, many items like syrup were made the old fashioned way.

Some folks are still trying to keep those traditions alive, but they're still subject to modern state rules concerning food manufacturing.

There's nothing quite like the taste of homemade syrup. No one knows that better then the folks at the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement in Blountstown.

They recently had a run-in with the law concerning their traditional homemade methods of making sugar cane syrup.

Linda Smith with the pioneer settlement says, "We had an inspector come and look our store over and he was just naming things that needed to be done in order to comply with state regulations."

Regulations like requiring a hot water heater, a concrete floor, and a way to put the cane skimmings into the sewer system.

Linda Smith says they are not reasonable.

"We're doing this as a historical preservation exhibit, how people did it 100 years ago, 200 years ago."

Tommy Duggard also makes sugar syrup. It’s his hobby.

Tommy says, "I have a good crowd, come by every year and watch me make it up. They enjoy it and I enjoy making.”

But since a state inspector spotted some of his syrup on the shelf of a local store, his hobby has become more expensive.

"I've already spent over $1,000 setting up what I had to do."

Linda and Willard Smith recently formed an organization called the Tri-State Syrup Makers. They plan to get state officials educated on the historical significance of making syrup the old fashioned way.

"They didn't have cement floors 100 years ago. Some of them just cooked out in the open."

The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement in Blountstown still plans to hold annual sugar cane syrup making day the Saturday after Thanksgiving.


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