A Product of Louisiana

 

An Economics Lesson on STEEN'S PURE CANE SYRUP (See booklet info)

When you sit at your table to eat pancakes, do you ever reach for delicious sweet syrup to pour over them?  Many people do!

Have you ever thought about how syrup makes itís way to your table? In this story, you will learn about the journey of one Louisiana product called ďSteenís Syrup.Ē This product is produced in Abbeville, Louisiana is almost 100 years old.

Each batch starts with one popular Louisiana agriculture crop called sugar cane. Children and adults in south Louisiana know that when the sides of a sugar cane are peeled, the sweet juicy pulp is a treat to chew on. One Louisiana couple took that taste a step further by creating a pure cane syrup product.

In 1910, Charley Sidney Steen, Sr. and Elizabeth Bernard Steen founded the C. S. Steen Syrup Mill.  The purchase of a small mill was made through a local hardware store. At that time, this mule drawn mill could produce a couple barrels of syrup a day.

Although some things have changed, one thing hasnít. Since the plantation days, sugar cane crops are still planted the same way. It is hand laid into the soil. The seed cane is covered and allowed to grow. Fifteen months later. the crop will be harvested.

In earlier years, farmers search for people to hand cut and strip the sugarcane for delivery to the C. S. Steen Syrup Mill. 

Now mechanical cutters are used. Once the crop is harvested, it is taken to the mill.  The average "Syrup Making Season" runs from middle of October through Christmas.

As the first of its kind in the world, this cane cleaning plant took sugar cane and removed the leaves and dirt.  The leaves and dirt are burned and the ashes are returned to the fields, while the sugar cane would go to the mill to be processed.

Today, mechanized equipment cut sugar cane, strips it of its leaves and loads it on to hydraulic dump carts which tractors or trucks tow to the mill.

While being processed at the C. S. Steen Syrup Mill, kettles of pure sugar cane juice are evaporated into cane syrup and it is cooked until it looks and tastes just right.

Five generations later, the mill still uses the original recipe and steam equipment continues to make ď100% pure cane syrupĒ over an open kettle.

Once the syrup is packaged, the producers of this product then ship it to stores to be sold. It is then bought or purchased by consumers and brought home.

Next time you reach for syrup, share the story of this Louisiana product with your family!




Discussion Questions

Name


1. What is the name of the product in this story?

2. What crop is used to make this product?

3. Who started the company?

4. Describe one thing the Steen's company does the same now as long ago.

5. Describe one thing the Steen's company does different now as long ago.

6. Do you think having this product in Louisiana is a good thing? Why or why not?



7. Think About This Question: Hurricanes and storms are a threat to southern Louisiana coastal parishes. Do you think Hurricanes can affect the production of this product? Explain your answer.


To see the process with photos, click here to see the
PowerPoint. To print a booklet in color click here! For black and white click here! Download a story and question printable here! (Click here for MS Word version)

More Steen Syrup Information!

Created by Stacy Bodin with the permission of
Steenís Syrup Company.  (February 13, 2008)

A special thank you goes out to the Steen Family for permission to share this information with Louisiana students learning about
Louisiana economics and agriculture. Pictures used are from the Steenís Syrup website, Microsoft PowerPoint Images and Annette Oliva.

 

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