By Joseph L. Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association
As the engine of the John Deere tractor sputtered, the wheels and belts began churning on the old press.
It was that time of year again for the Schnell brothers. After harvesting several acres of sorghum, the cane is ready to be pressed. The family tradition of making sweet sorghum syrup to be used in recipes, on pancakes and cereal had begun.
Every year Rolland Schnell, his brother Dale, cousin Dick Schnell and other family and friends convene on a 40-acre section of timber near Sully for canning. The center of the operation is an old press dating back to the 1880s.
The passage of time is unmistakable to see. The iron is rusted. Numerous teeth on the gears have been replaced or repaired. But, the old press still churns with a steady purpose.
The following photos offer a glimpse at the age-old process of canning sorghum.