Jefferson’s Blackburn’s Syrup has become a staple on breakfast tables across the south. The family-owned company thrives after a chance encounter in the 1920s began a Texas tradition.
A chance encounter more than 90 years ago helped begin a legendary Texas business.
“My great grandparents had a room and board house,” explained Michelle Shelton, the fourth generation of the Blackburn Syrup family. “One day a man came to stay with them but he didn’t have any money so he traded his board for his recipe for honey syrup.”
That honey syrup began a business for Mr. Blackburn, who began making the delicious syrup in a wash pot at the family home near Linden, located north of Jefferson. The syrup that tasted better than honey, a mixture that became the standard for Blackburn’s syrup, today that same syrup, for the most part, can be tasted with the, “Blackburn Made Syrup,” the syrup, Michelle says, the company considers their original. The syrup was a mixture of honey and cane syrup.
“He packed the syrup in 5-pound cans and sold them out of his Model-T Ford,” Michelle told of the family business. “He would sell the syrup to area stores — it just built up from there.”
Eventually the business grew to the point where it needed larger facilities so the fledgling company moved south to Jefferson, employing larger equipment and more people to make their in-demand products.
Today Blackburn’s makes several different kinds of syrup, 11 to be exact, including their standard, they also make waffle syrup and Blackburn’s Original (the favorite here at Texas Farm & Home.) Ribbon cane, a favorite in the old south, is still used in making some of the company’s syrup, keeping this traditional favorite on the taste buds of newer generations.
Blackburn’s also makes 11 different types of jellies. The jellies are easy to spot in their glass handled jars, li
ke a mug.
Blackburn’s also does private labels for grocery stores and other outlets. They also provide the syrup for the
famous Waffle House and Denny’s, breakfast restaurants that dot the United States.
While the country may not like carbs as much as it used to, kids and their parents still love pancakes and waffles and nothing compares to Blackburn’s syrup poured over a hot, buttery flapjack.
It’s become a large operation, and as Michelle noted, “we don’t use a wash pot any more.” Two line
s keep the products churning out day after day, making people’s favorite syrups and jellies.
These days, Michelle’s father, Jeffrey Fuquay, the grandson of Blackburn’s founder, owns the company. Michelle works there with her brother and cousin, keeping the family business going through the generations.
These days a fleet of modern trucks deliver the sweet goods to customers across the United States and nations around the world — a far cry from an old Ford Model T putting around the East Texas countryside bringing a wash pot creation to welcoming customers wanting a rare and precious sweetness on their table. The family has taken their role in being a part of t
he American breakfast table seriously, and the family passes it down from generation to generation.
“I tell my kids every day that I will never make them work here,” Michelle said of her children, “but of course I would love for them to.”
The tradition continues, and here’s to the next 90 years of Blackburn’s Syrup.