Fall Festival harvest sorghum in preparation for weekend

Sorghum maker Meryln Mahoney

Sorghum maker Meryln Mahoney


by Clarke Davis

A crew of 10 men armed with cornknives harvested an acre of sorghum cane Saturday morning near Meriden in preparation for the annual Fall Festival and Swap Meet at Cottonwood Station Sept. 28 and 29.

After the harvest, the seed heads had to be cut off and the leaves shredded from the stalk. Meryln Mahoney — the head sorghum maker — said the leaves are stripped because they would tend to make the sorghum bitter. “The soil has a lot to do with establishing the flavor,” he said. “Some is mild, some it tart.”

The cane stalks are crushed for their juice and then the cooking process creates sorghum used to pour on pancakes or cook and bake with. “It’s great with baked beans and snickerdoodle cookies,” he said.

Mahoney said it takes 50 gallons of juice to get six to seven gallons of sorghum.

The year’s harvest depends on the size of the stalks and their moisture content.

He keeps seed from the crop to plant the next year.

The Meriden Antique Engine and Threshers Association sponsors the annual event. President Jess Noll reports the village will come alive with lots to see and do with stock antique garden tractor pulls both days. Admission is $3 a day with children under 12 admitted free.


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