Sorghum Festival at Heritage House Museum in Mount Ida

The Heritage House Museum of Montgomery County in Mount Ida is the scene of an annual Sorghum Festival each fall.

The festival takes visitors back to the days when most families grew a field of cane and made their sorghum every fall. Sorghum was a staple in most families that carried them through the winter.

Cane was grown, along with other crops, so a family could have sorghum molasses throughout the year. The stalks were hauled by wagon to the mill. Powered by a horse or mule, the mill pressed the juice from the cane. Then the juice was cooked in a copper pan until it reached the right consistency for molasses.

Folks at the museum are harnessing mules to operate the mill for grinding and juicing and will have sorghum cooking.

“Maybe you remember the old family tradition of raising a sufficient size stand of sorghum cane to process and make sorghum syrup for a winter staple,” said Emilie Kinney,[former] director of the Heritage House Museum via a [past] news release. “If so, you will enjoy this recreation of the aged family and community custom of grinding and squeezing the cane to cook the thin green juice till it reaches just the right consistency of rich amber sorghum. We’ll even have some for sale.”

According to Kinney, rural families depended on sorghum as a kitchen staple during the winter months. It provided nutrients and was a standard sweetener in most homes. Many folks recall the typical breakfast of hot biscuits, butter and thick sorghum.

“Our smaller mill is mule operated and many people are as interested in seeing the mule harnessed and working the mill as they are in the cooking or the finished sorghum product,” she said. “We also have a larger mill that is engine operated.” They also plan to have a small grist mill grinding corn.

Visitors will be offered fresh baked biscuits with a little sorghum and there will also be samples of sorghum cookies and sorghum cake. There is no fee to attend the festival.

The Heritage House Museum of Montgomery County is at 819 Luzerne St.