If you go
What: Capital City Art & Craft Show
When: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Civic Center
Admission: $6 for adults, $1 for children under 12Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable foods for local food pantries
Enamored with the shagbark hickory trees growing on their land, Ruby and Joe Griffith decided they would like to have more of them.
"I was researching how to plant and cultivate the trees when I stumbled across a Native American recipe using an extract from the bark sweetened with honey," Ruby said.
She decided to experiment and eventually came up with a recipe for hickory syrup.
"It's basically an extraction based on simmering the bark, filtering it and adding sugar," she said. "I haven't made it with honey like the Native Americans yet, but I would like to try that."
The recipe experiment evolved into a business called Simply Hickory a little over a year ago.
The couple now sells its hickory syrup. They say its unusual smoky flavor makes it good on everything from pancakes and waffles to cornbread. It's also good as a meat glaze or in barbecue sauces.
The Griffiths for the first time will bring their wares to the Capital City Art & Craft Show, which takes place this weekend at the Charleston Civic Center featuring nearly 160 vendors.
Among items for sale will be jewelry, pottery, photography, fine arts and stone and metal sculptures. Aside from hickory syrup, other exhibitors will offer foods such as salsas, dips, jellies, pickles, meatballs, cakes, sauces and wines. Regional authors will be on hand for book signings.
There will be artisans from seven states with original items at affordable prices just in time for the holidays.
This marks the 46th annual show sponsored by Kanawha City Lions Club. Since the beginning, the club has used proceeds from the event to donate more than $1.25 million to state and local charities, as well as to provide more than $100,000 in eyeglasses for local residents.
This marks the first year for Simply Hickory to participate in the show.
Ruby Griffith believes it will be a great spot to get more exposure for the business. The hickory syrup will be available in a variety of sizes priced from $3 to $30.
She hopes the syrup business will eventually become full time with the entire family involved. Ruby, 27, and Joe, 40, married in 2010. She works at a water treatment plant and he at Alcon Manufacturing.
They live on eight acres of land in West Hamlin on the border of Lincoln and Cabell counties. His parents own an adjoining 100 acres. Joe's children live nearby, including his son, Joey Griffith, and daughter, Shala Henry.
The land is rich in shagbark hickory trees that can be used for making syrup without harming the trees by using the naturally exfoliating bark. However, plans call for planting more.
Hickory syrup is tasty, Ruby said.
"It's very uncommon," she said. "I know of eight other people who make it in the U.S. and none are in West Virginia. It took a lot of trial and error to perfect the recipe."
The syrup is made in a commercial kitchen in a community center in Lincoln County where it takes eight hours to make six gallons.
It is sold online at www.simplyhickory.com<;f"DMCrown">, at West Virginia Marketplace at the Capitol Market in Charleston and at The Halfway Market in Milton and Hurricane.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.