Our Sweet Taste of Autumn sorghum festival takes place next week, October 12 and 13, at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center’s Sustainable Farm, 4415 W CR 200 S in Noble County, just south of Wolf Lake, Indiana. Merry Lea, is less than 10 miles away from three additional sorghum-growing farms participating in the Northern Indiana Sweet Sorghum Project: Old Loon Farm and Wise Farms LLC in Columbia City, and Palmer Farm, Inc., in Albion.
On Thursday, October 12, the festival will kick off with an informal supper at the Merry Lea Farm, consisting of foods prepared with the addition of sweet sorghum syrup – pulled pork, breads and biscuits, baked beans, roasted veggies, salads and desserts. Following supper, a short presentation of our SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education) funded project which focuses on the profitability of small-plot production of sweet sorghum for syrup. A farmer panel will discuss this year’s planting, harvest and syrup-making, lessons learned, and next year’s plans. The group is hoping to attract additional small farm growers who might like to produce sweet sorghum in 2018. Our goal is to add five additional acres of sorghum next year.
On Friday, October 13, activities will resume at 10 am. with operation of the antique press, powered by a tractor, that squeezes the juice from the harvested cane. The juice is then evaporated over wood fire until it becomes a beautiful and tasty amber colored syrup. Tasting is believing! This golden syrup is a natural sweetener, more nutritious than sugar. It has an earthy flavor with a hint of spice that works well with fall foods – including pumpkin, corn, root vegetables, (and beer — craft brewers, take note!) It’s delicious in pies, cookies, caramels, warm cider – you get the idea! We’ll have it all at the festival!
The Sweet Taste of Autumn sorghum festival is free and open to the public. RSVP to Jane Loomis, firstname.lastname@example.org, so we know how much food to prepare. Come join in the fun, learn about sorghum, and try this natural, tasty food. Volunteers are always welcome!