Since 1835 the Todd family has been making syrup. The six-generation business opened its new location and farm in Headland Aug. 16 of this year.
Over the past several months the business has not only grown by relocating several of its cane farms to the area, but also by offering an old general store and small antique area related to syrup making to its visitors.
“We have guests from all over stop by and visit with us,” said Dewey Todd, owner. “We have them come from as far as Alaska. We keep a record book in the store that we ask our guests to sign when they visit. We love to see where everyone is from, and, hopefully, they enjoyed their visit not only here in Headland but with us as well. You really can’t imagine the places people are from, not to mention the friends we have made.”
Todd is known as a syrup expert to friends and residents of Headland; he is also known for offering the best history lesson available.
“Times may change, but sometimes you just can’t stop the old traditions,” Todd said. “For years we have made syrup using our big kettle. That’s the way I prefer. Plus, it only takes my wife and me to make the syrup. But, we need to increase the syrup production; that is a good thing. Now, we are going to also use the evaporator. The evaporator produces more syrup and will meet the demands for our product. However, it takes more people to run the evaporator.”
The Todd family received a visit last week from an old friend, Tommy Clayton. Clayton not only participated with Todd in making syrup with the evaporator but also helped stir the kettle. They both discussed their love for making syrup.
“I have known Mr. Todd for many years,” Clayton said. “Over the years we have visited each other’s syrup farms. This makes my first trip to the new location. Actually, Mr. Todd and a few others are what got me interested in syrup making. It is a tradition that is loved by many. However, the sad thing is, if we don’t attract the younger generations, it may not be around much longer. We need more like Mr. Todd. He loves what he does and by him sharing his talent and love for what he does, well, it definitely got me interested. I love it, and I hope I can inspire others like Mr. Todd did me.
“Over the years, I have also expanded my love for not only making syrup but learning the history revolving around syrup making. I have purchased several pieces of antique syrup making equipment to help spread the history of the business. I have taken several pictures of the equipment over the years, and the photos have been featured in publications, such as ‘The American Cane Mill Story’ by Don Howard Dean.”
Since the opening of Todd’s Syrup in Headland, many organizations from the state have made Headland a place of interest.
“Mr. Todd has had several individuals just stop in as they pass through our city,” said Ray Marler, mayor of Headland. “That not only gives everyone a chance to see the process of syrup making, but it also gives everyone a chance to visit our city. Headland is a great place to not only live in but to visit as well, especially if you want to learn more about syrup making or, better yet, sample some.”
The Todd family invites everyone to stop by and see exactly what is available at the Todd Cane Farm in Headland. The facility is located on U.S. Hwy. 431.