A sweet sorghum soiree

By Stina Sieg | Sep 25, 2011
Photo by: Stina Sieg Doyle Johnston, left, and Daniel Warren help skim the vat of sweet sorghum syrup at David Burnette's home. The process, which begins around 8 a.m., usually isn't finished until about 10 p.m.

For more than 20 years, Canton local and Haywood Community College instructor David Burnette has been hosting sweet sorghum-making parties at his home in the country. On Saturday, an untold number of people gathered at his place to eat, talk, make music — and help with the giant vat of sweet, thick, boiling syrup. Sometimes incorrectly called molasses, this dark syrup is an Appalachian tradition that Burnette and his family are happy to keep alive. They always make sweet sorghum the first three Saturdays after Labor Day.