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February 22, 2013
Star News


 

Sweet mill - Doing it the old-fashioned way
Rasbert Turner, STAR Writer


Linval Brown tends to the cane mill as 'Montegomery', in the background, trots to keep the mill operating. Brown and his relatives are making sugar in Lundie, Westmoreland.

Milling cane to make sugar is an old art that now relies on advanced technology. However, 87-year-old Zephenia Brown and his nephews still rely on an old technology - a horse-drawn mill.

Brown has been involved with sugar for as long as he can remember and has no plans to quit soon.

"I was always helping my uncle with the sugar cane. I cannot remember going to school on a Friday as I would have to work," Brown said.

heavily involved in sugar

Like Brown, the community of Lundie in Westmoreland is heavily involved in sugar. They use a technology older than Brown to grind sugar cane.

When the newsteam visited Lundie, a horse-drawn mill was in use. 'Montgomery', the name of the horse, toiled in the sun as his owner barked instructions.

"Move along Montgomery, tek weh yu self. Get that cane juice, move," Alvin Brown, Zephenia's nephew, said with a gentle crack of the whip.

It was a technical process as the cane was painstakingly fed into the mill.

The horse went around in circles and a piece of zinc was used to drain the cane juice into a drum before it was moved to the kiln.

"We lift the juice and pour it inside this copper pot and it start to boil down like syrup," Linval Brown, another of Zephenia's nephew said

The process continues for about three hours with Brown constantly removing the impurities for the mixture.

Upon completion, the thick liquid was poured through a bamboo into an iron pot were it is set for cooling. "My sugar is done as clean as possible. I produce it and I use it myself, and that is why people from all walks of life buy from me," Zephenia Brown said.

Persons who turned up on the farm also endorsed the senior citizen views.

"It is a very good thing that one person is still milling the cane this way. I hope that the tradition will continue, " Jacqueline Bent said.

The flexibility of the sugar cane was evident with wet sugar, sugar head, sugar liquor (cane juice) and even vinegar being produced.


Zephenia Brown removes impurities from the cane juice as it boils. - Ian Allen photos

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