Sweet Sorghum

Sweet Sorghum

By William Harwood / Photography By Alyssa Valletta | August 24, 2015
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Mark Guenther tests the thickness of the simmering syrup.

A family’s dedication to the South’s golden sweetener

In our neck of the woods, the place to get your sorghum on is most definitely the Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill. Owned by the Guenther family, the small farm nestled in the hills between Knoxville and Nashville has been producing delicious sorghum syrup since the early 1980s, racking up award after award.

John and Emma started the mill, but today their sons and their sons’ wives do most of the work to bring sorghum’s golden goodness to buttery biscuits on lucky plates throughout the South and even beyond. The family starts planting sorghum cane in mid May and continues planting through the end of June - that strategy allows the Guenthers to harvest the canes – which can grow up to fourteen feet, by the way – from September through October. And this is where things get sticky.

Once the cane is cut, it is pressed to squeeze out the juice. The extracted juice is collected and flows through a series of filters and cooking pans where it is boiled down to syrup. As the juice cooks and thickens, it transforms from a green watery juice to a golden syrupy rush, a natural sweetener ready to go toe-to-toe with either honey or molasses.

During this time of year, the Guenthers press around 2,500 gallons of juice each day to produce 250 to 270 gallons of sorghum syrup. To dip your biscuits in some, visit Whole Foods, Porter Road Butcher, The Hermitage, or select Kroger stores. Better yet, you’ll find the Geunthers manning the syrup at The Ellington Music and Molasses Festival at Ellington Agricultural Center in October.

Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill 4064 Muddy Pond Road Monterey, TN 38574 (Overton County)
(931) 445-3509 or (931) 445-3589

To order sorghum online go to muddypondsorghum.com

Article from Edible Nashville at http://ediblenashville.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/sweet-sorghum
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