Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 29, 2013

Winning ways

Ross farm continues to bring home awards from state fair

Tim Preston
The Independent

DURBIN — With time-tested recipes that rely on crops they grow, harvest and process at their farm in Durbin, Jim and Margaret Ross of Durbin Farms add a few new blue ribbons from the state fair to their collection every year.

“We got first, second, third and fourth place. We won the whole thing this year. We won 27 or 28 (ribbons) this year, I can’t remember which. She’s got them all on display up there at the barn,” he said Friday while preparing for a crowd the next day during the annual Heritage Harvest Tour in Boyd and Lawrence counties.

“We’re pretty proud for the way everything turned out. It was a pretty good year. The cane did well,” he said.

Durbin Farms has already cooked and canned this year’s batches of apple butter and pear honey, Ross said, noting he will spend the next three or four Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons cooking sorghum according to old-time traditions and relying upon experience making the sweet syrup from the raw cane.

“This is our 20th year making sorghum,” he said, explaining it takes good cane and a few growing seasons to develop the knowledge needed to make the classic country-kitchen staple.

“It just comes with experience more than anything. And, each year you try to make a better product,” he said. “Of course we always enjoy people testing and tasting it before they buy it, too!”

Ross speculates he will host guests who want to watch the weekend sorghum cooking process at least through Halloween.

“We will cook every Saturday and Sunday until we run out of cane. Probably the next four weekends,” he said. “People really enjoy watching that.”

Durbin Farms is south of Ashland along U.S. 23 in the Durbin community, near Burnaugh. For more information, call (606) 831-8097.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.