Click photo to view slides of cane grinding and cane syrup making
The Pioneer Florida Museum has a Cane Syrup Mill complete with hard working mule. Demonstratons of cane grinding and syrup making are presented during the year at special events.
Sugarcane was a Pioneer Florida cash crop and was harvested mostly by hand and sometimes mechanically. The museum has a mill grinder which could produce income for a pioneer family. Hand harvesting still accounts for more than half of the world's production. Harvesters use cane knives or machetes, cut the standing cane just above the ground.
Early development of cane grinding in Florida was done with a mule or horse. Later, mechanical harvesting, a sugarcane combine (or chopper harvester), a harvesting machine originally developed in Australia, was used. The Austoft 7000 series was the original design for the modern harvester and has now been copied by other companies including Cameco and John Deere. The machine cuts the cane at the base of the stalk, separates the cane from its leaves, and deposits the cane into a haulout transporter while blowing the thrash back onto the field. A modern machines can harvest 100 tons of cane each hour, but cane harvested using earlier machines had to be transported to the processing plant rapidly. Once cut, sugarcane begins to lose its sugar content, and damage inflicted on the cane during mechanical harvesting accelerates this decay.
Be sure to check our calendar and visit when we do our
cane grinding and syrup making!!