Southern Matters

Southern Matters

This resource page is intended to provide ready access to materials and expertise.

Suggested additions are welcome.

Sites Similar to Southern Matters

Ken Christison's syrup page for sorghum and sugar-cane enthusiasts. Much useful information oriented to the hobbyist and sideliner. Should be your first stop on the web. Many useful links. Sign-up for e-mail list.

Thirteen Oaks Farm and Cane Mill
An interesting, informative site from friends Don and Carol Dean. Aspects of furnace construction, description of cane cultivars, mill collection, and more. Brother Don is the cane-mill guru who is cited often throughout Southern Matters.

Sweet Sorghum
A fun and informative sorghum and cane-mill site co-developed by Ken Christison and Keith Kinney.

Freeman's Mill
A great site--milling, syrup making, and other southern traditions by friend Stacey Freeman and family.

Cane Syrup (Orange County)
Visit another sugar-cane syrup site.

Parrish's Ole Time Pure Sugar Cane Syrup
Hand-crafted syrup is for sale to the public.

Whitehead's Pure Cane Syrup
An image-rich site that describes harvesting and syrup making as a community and family tradition.

Blizzard Branch
A family-centered small commercial syrup and milling operation. Lots of nice photos of cane and making syrup.
Russ Brothers
A semi-commercial operation out of South Carolina, based on long tradition.

General Information

Southern Syrup-makers' Association
Active member participation, strong leadership, and record of accomplishments are compelling reasons to join this group of pure cane-syrup producers and supporters.

Florida Sugarcane Handbook
Sections on diseases and pests, backyard producers, sugar cane botany, nutritional requirements. Comprehensive. Very useful.

National Sweet Sorghum Processors and Producers Association
Excellent site produced by the National Sweet Sorghum Processors and Producers Association. From the University of Kentucky. Use methods similar to sugar-cane syrup production.

North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual (OSU)
Maple Quality Control Manual (U ME)
Links to bulletins on maple syrup that include general information on making syrup such as filtration and bottling.

Sorghum Syrup
A publication from the ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas) that contains a number of valuable links and references.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Publications
(800) 553-6849

Website of National Technical Information Service. Source of most recent bulletin on sugar-cane syrup production (Broadhead DM, N Zummo 1988 Sugarcane Culture and Syrup Production, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, ARS-61, originally 48 pp). The Agricultural Research Service has no copies for distribution.
Under the NTIS system, this publication carries the number of PB 88211107 and is 52 pages. $31.50 plus handling.

Sugar Cane (Purdue U)
From the university's Center for New Crops and Plant Products.

Sugar Info
A nice site, pointed out by Jim Woodyard, that pertains to the basics of sugars.

Panhandle Pioneer Settlement (North Florida)
Westville, Georgia (Southwest Georgia)
Florida State Fair (Central Gulf Coast Florida)
Jarrell Plantation (Central Georgia)
Depot Museum (East Texas)
Oakland Island (East Georgia)
Agrirama (South Georgia)
Rikard's Mill (Southwest Alabama)
Swine Time (South Georgia)
Mule Days (South Georgia)
Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science (North Florida)
Demonstration syrup cook-offs.

Information Searches

Scholar Google
Searches of the web by subject or author's last name seem to work fine and my impression is that the site improves with time.. Limited number of returns apparently restricted to publications, conferences, and certain types of web sites.

The free search f rom the National Agricultural Library. Has more depth than Scholar Google, but not the breadth.
LSU Ag Center
Electronic Data Information Source (UF)
Search portals to the extension services of the two major sugar-cane-producing states.

Soil Analysis

Waters Agricultural Laboratory
I have received good service from this laboratory for soil analysis. Cheaper and less polluting than application of excess or unbalanced fertilizer.

Propagation Material

South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station
Mississippi State University
PO Box 193
Poplarville, MS 39470
Phone (601) 795-4525

Source of three cultivars (CP 36-111, CP 52-48, and CP 67-500) of sugar-cane "seed" for syrup production. 100-stalk lots ($25) only. Reserve by the end of September. Also a source of the chewing cultivar, CP 31-511, in 50 stalk-lots.

Georgia Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin
Several advertisements for seed cane are posted each autumn.

Richard Harrison
Very knowledgeable North Florida sugar-cane enthusiast who maintains a large variety c

Major Syrup-making Equipment

Ampro Exports
Vishwakala Machine Tools

Foreign sources for new small-scale sugar-cane mills. Caveat emptor.

Georgia Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin
Florida Market Bulletin  
North Carolina Agricultural Review
Louisiana Market Bulletin   
South Carolina Market Bulletin

Online market bulletins in which vintage syrup-making equipment is sometimes advertised for sale.

Minor Syrup-making Equipment and Expendibles

Guenther Sorghum Supply
Source of Atago analog and digital refractometers and syrup containers. Operated by a family that produces syrup and is active in promotion of syrup. Recommended. Can also be contacted at or Guenther Sorghum Supply, 4363 Muddy Pond Rd., Monterey, TN. 38574 or phone 931-445-3589.

Northern Brewer
Source of refractometer for juice. Model RHB-32ATC is used by Ken Christison and me for juice.

Tech Instrumentation (Colorado) (303) 841-7567
Sargent Welch/ VWR International or (800) 932-5000
McMaster-Carr or (330) 995-5500

Sources of digital thermometers. Gleened and revised from a list compiled by Morris Bitzer from NSSPPA members. Dr. Bitzer gave a favorable evaluation of Model TM99A-E with 1078 probe (Catalog No. 61161-274) from Sergent Welch.

Voigt Global Distribution
Burke Candy
Sources of food-grade citric acid. (Citric acid has been used to prevent crystallization in cane syrup and can often be found in the canning section of some supermarkets.)

Leader Evaporator Company 
Atkinson Maple Syrup Supplies   
Sources of syrup refractometers, hydrometers, thermometers, and other equipment used to produce maple syrup.

Allied Kenco Sales
Diamond Oil Company
Alpha Source International
Andersol Specialty Lubricants
Sources of food-grade lubricants for mills.

Burke Candy
Source of small quantities of invertase. Several syrup makers, beginning with Charles Deese, have purchased from this company and have had good service.

Duval Container Company
931 S. Myrtle Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32204

(904) 355-6751 or (904) 355-0711

Mid-Continent Agrimarketing, Inc.
1465 N. Winchester,
Olathe, KS 66061

(913) 768-8967 or (800) 547-1392

J.C. Lyle Company
26478 Highway 3
Ochlocknee, GA 31773
(229) 574-5570

Southeastern Supply Co.
112 E. Colquitt Street
Sparks, GA 31647
(229) 549-8204

Sources for syrup bottles. Duval also sells syrup hydrometers.

Richmark Label
High quality labels and unexcelled customer service. Cost is commensurate with upscale labels suitable for artisan farmstead products.. Highly recommended. Direct email to Account Development Director.


Equipment Restoration and Mechanization

Stationary Engine List Resource Page
Ken Christison's resource page for stationary engines. Includes valuable references for mill restoration such as electrolysis for removing rust and Babbitt techniques.

Source of The speed reducer book. A practical guide to enclosed gear drives. Published by Winsmith. Covers the concepts required for design of a drive system for mechanizing a cane mill. The relationship between torque, horsepower, and rpm. Calculations of overhang loads. Much more in this 179-page book.

Gearology--Boston Gear
A superb resource. 132 pages of information that is basic enough for a lay person, yet sufficiently technical to be of interest to anyone.

British Horological Institute
Metal Web News

Information on electrolysis for rust removal and other topics of interest in cane-mill restoration.

Lindsay's Technical Books
Easy-to-understand booklets on pouring Babbitt bearings.

Meadows Mills
Source of lead-free Babbitt. I have made serveral purchases from this company and have always been pleased with the products and service. This company also custom pours Babbitt for cane-mill bearings and Carroll Abernethy reports that they did a nice job for him..

Chip Harris, Monroe, NC, phone (704) 753-2065
Sources for bearings for Chattanooga No. 12 mill.

Source of lead-free Babbitt. Charles Deese purchased from this company and was pleased with the price.

Marquette Industrial Materials Co. (309) 673-1079
Source of putty and other supplies.


Cattail Foundry
167 West Cattail Road
Gordonville, PA 17529

Will custom cast from a copy at a reasonable cost. No telephone, but now with voice mail, (717) 661-9172. Ken Christison and I have both had good luck with this foundry through the mail, as has Stacey Freeman, who visited them.  The Brinsons have also visited and used this foundry. There is a high demand for their work and the turn-around varies from weeks to months. See also Ken's page of foundries.

Clinch River Casting, Inc.
Custom casting. Gene Crouse and Richard Warfford have had good experiences with this company.

A. Moresi Foundry, Inc.
506 Main Street
Jeanerette, LA 70544
Tel: (337) 276-4533 Fax: (337) 276-3905

Source of new reasonably priced cast-iron kettles. Patterned after antique kettles made by this foundry. This foundry also has the ability to make large custom castings.  As an example, they made new rollers (6000 pounds for the largest) for Charles Kramer (Lynnville, Iowa), a 12,000-gallon per year sorghum producer.

J. W. Cast Co.
8790 County Rd 20 SW
Sebeka, MN
(218) 472-3365
Charles Deese had brass bearings and a cast-iron guide knife made by them and found their work to be fast, reasonable and of very high quality.

Larry Carmack
Phoenix Foundry
State Dock Road
Phoenix City, AL 36867
(334) 298-0441
Used by one of the best machine shops around.

Burners and Furnace Construction

Hal Roach Company
Full-line refractory distributor. I purchased ceramic blankets from this company and received personalized service, including a free computer-generated thermal profile through the walls and envelope of my furnace.
Condar Company
Source of flue thermometer. I use their FlueGard model.

Meeder Equipment Company
Source of high-capacity cast-iron gas burners suitable for firing kettles. Several, including I, use their S8S side-arm burner.

Red Dragon Products and Services
Useful facts about propane to consider in furnace construction. Vaporization rates, vapor pressure, heat capacity and more.

Manufacturer of high temperature stainless steel flue systems. I use the DWPlus 8-inch system, which is specified for 1400 F continuous and 1800 F intermittant. Use of the commonly available Type B system (specified for 400 F above ambient) is unsatisfactory.

The Florida Buiding Code
A cornucopia of essential information for construction of a syrup shed. Examples include allowable gas pressures for threaded connections and flue sizing by heat capacity and flue height. A must visit.


FDA Food Code
Outlines federal mandates for commercial food production. (Also, check your local regulations, which may be more stringent.)

Uniform Code Council
Information needed to put a UPC code on your containers.


Florida Photographic Collection  
125,000 photographs can be searched on line.  Many historic photographs of interest to syrup makers and homesteaders.

Galileo (UGA)
Vanishing Georgia, the Georgia Archives, the Georgia Library Learning Online (Galileo), an initiative of the University of Georgia. This superb site is searchable and has images of syrup making in Georgia back to the 19th century. (Thanks to Dr. C. C. Black for recommending this link.)

Exploring Florida
A single photo of two Seminole women making syrup in 1941.  Perhaps of special interest to me because my spouse and, hence, children descend from Native Americans.

Google Images
Thousands of sugar cane, syrup and related images.

Special Topics

Sugar at LSU: a Chronology
A brief history and guide to displays.

Slavery in America
A brief history and nice artwork, all pertaining to sugar-cane culture.
Lake Jackson Sugar Company
A description of a sugar plantation in Texas.

Sugar and the Sugar Region of Louisianaf o
This 1853 account by T.B. Thorpe appeared in Harpers New Monthly magazine. Use of kettle trains and other aspects of sugar making are described from the perspective of a contemporary.