Welcome to the Centanni Syrup Making
The first Saturday after Veteran's Day, November 11 is always a special day for Julius and Lucille Centanni of Saraland, AL. This is "Syrup Making Day" at "The Farm" in Perdido, AL where syrup making has been a tradition for over 20 years. The Centanni's, along with their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends from far and near, gather at the farm for a day of syrup making and fellowship.
Mr. Centanni grows the cane used for making the syrup. The cane is cut, gathered and fed into the mill where the cane juice is squeezed out to flow into the juice box. Wood is cut to feed the fire under the syrup pan, and once the juice from the box hits the hot pan the aroma of syrup cooking fills the air.
The "syrup making" day starts before dawn with fresh coffee, biscuits and sausage. Relatives and friends lend a hand whether it be driving the tractor, feeding the presser, skimming, straining, or pouring the syrup. Syrup making is an art that waits on no one. So everyone has to be in their right place at the right time.
Around noon a huge spread of delicious food is place on the picnic tables. Some of the food is cooked on the old black wood stove but friends and relatives also contribute to feast. The standard foods include chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, ham, roast, chili, beans, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, potato salad, cornbread, and various cakes and pies.
After everyone has indulged in the bounty of food Mr. Centanni hitches a wagon to the back of the old red tractor for a "jungle ride" through the "woods" to the delight of all the youngsters, no matter their ages. This tradition is anticipated each year by all of the children like Christmas morning! But, its hard to tell who enjoys it most - Mr. Centanni or the kids!
After many hours of hard work the finished product is tested, sampled, poured, and labeled, "Sopping Good Syrup" and is shared with relatives and friends as they depart after a day of fun and fellowship.
*To link to the Centanni ancestors and relatives try Greg's Photo Album. Also, try Rosario Centanni and Marie Cortalano Centanni Family History Home Page for the page about the ancestors in Alia.
**An article in the Mobile Register by Gene Owens: Cane grows, juice flows.