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Catawba Sustainability Center studies role that Appalachian custom may have in future of local farms

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Category: impact Video duration: Catawba Sustainability Center studies role that Appalachian custom may have in future of local farms

Once a staple of every Southern kitchen, sorghum is now harder to find, losing space on store shelves to much cheaper refined sugar or molasses. But hands-on testing at the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center is showing that sorghum production could help small-scale farmers expand and diversify their farms.


Virginia Tech's Catawba Sustainability Center recently harvested a half-acre of sorghum to work with the local community to make organic molasses. Today we're harvesting sorghum. Sorghum has many different uses, but our use today is for sugar sorghum. So about a week ago, we went through the plot here behind me and we stripped off all the leaves in hopes that that would kind of knock the plant out a growing more and introduce more sugars into the cane itself. After letting it set for about a week, we're here today cutting it and bundling it where we will take it to a mill, where it'll be pressed and the liquids that contain the sugar will be pressed out of it. And then we'll boil those liquids and make sorghum syrup or molasses depending on where you're from, is this is like a very old time heritage thing done a lot in the Appalachian Mountains. So people have lots of different interpretations on what it's actually called. So where either sorghum syrup or molasses. We're going to take it to Blacksburg to older couple that's kind of been guiding us through this. As I said, this is an old timey Appalachian kind of thing and not a lot of people do it anymore. So the setup is that their house and they're happy to, to have us to make some molasses. And all they want is some of the good stuff in exchange when we're done, a motorized sorghum press releases the sugary liquid from the plant. The green looking liquid is then strain through a burlap sack. Once the liqu

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