Clay County has many talented residents. Some can quilt, some can sing, make crafts, bake and cook delicious foods, and others can take something that you grow in a field and make a delicious food out of it. Molasses is what I am talking about and Terry Rhodes, a Clay County Resident has been making molasses for many, many years. He started making molasses with his dad when he was 15 years old and has been making it every year since 1984. Molasses comes from sugar cane which starts the process as it grows. You then go out and cut the cane from the field, you cut the tops and vines off and it goes to the press. As the cane goes through the press, the juice is squeezed out and it is filtered as it flows into a big tub for collection. This filtering process helps keep out any seeds or anything left on the cane stocks from the field. Once it has been filtered from the press, it is then filtered again as it is poured into the evaporator pan where it goes through five steps of cooking before it is ready to be put into jars and enjoyed by all those around who loves to eat molasses.
Terry has a good group of people there to help him with the whole process; making molasses is a big job. You can’t leave and come back or all of your juices from the sugar cane will be burnt. You have to continually stir and move the molasses from one section of the evaporator pan to the other, and then on to jars for preserving. It takes all day from start to finish to complete one batch of molasses. Terry usually gets around 40-50 gallons and he stores his molasses in pint and quart jars. These days, there are not many old time traditions left and Terry is keeping this one alive. He will make molasses until he can’t any longer. Family, friends, neighbors and people from all around love to eat molasses that Terry makes. Many say it is the best around!