About Us

“I take pride in putting a product that is produced by my hands, in a bottle that bears my name. Every bottle is carefully handcrafted to provide the highest quality with an unforgettable flavor.” - Joshua Stephens
Our family farm, Hardship Hills Farm, is located in the ‘Heart of Hancock County’. Near the intersection of State Route 144 and State Route 69, it sits in the hills of central Kentucky, near the Ohio River. Our family has been producing sorghum syrup for six generations, dating back to the mid 1800’s. My forefathers would travel around Kentucky with a small sorghum mill and cook pan. They would harvest the cane, extract the juice, boil it into sorghum syrup, and keep a percentage of the syrup as payment. We began producing sorghum at our current location in the 1980’s. We have improved our harvesting and production systems, along with the quality of syrup considerably over the years and continue to push the limits to provide the highest quality products for our customers.
We currently have three generations of sorghum producers, Irvin (4th generation), Freddie (5th generation) and Joshua (6th generation). Sorghum production wouldn’t be the same without the involvement of so much of our family. We truly love producing sorghum syrup. We hope you fall in love with our quality products as much as we love the tradition.

Who We Are

Uncle Josh and his Family

Uncle Josh and his niece Macauley

Wholesome Approach

At Hardship Hills Farm we strive to continually improve our relationship with Mother Nature. We take a wholesome approach in all of our farming practices. We use biological techniques in raising sorghum cane that focus on promoting the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the soil. Harvesting our sorghum cane in the field allows the nutrients of the unneeded plant material to be returned to the soil profile. This natural nutrient recycling stimulates the soil's microbial activity and improves the soil structure. We work to improve the soil composition by planting an array of cover crops in the off-season. With improved seed technology we have reduced the amount of equipment emissions by tremendously reducing the amount of mechanical cultivation. Sorghum cane usually isn't affected by pests or diseases. Therefore, we do not use insecticides in our production. Our sorghum is 100% pure and contains no additives that enhance flavor or consistency.


Our family has spent decades perfecting our processes to allow us to produce the highest quality sorghum, and we strive for perfection. Using a mechanically automated harvesting system allows us to focus more of our time in the cookhouse. All of our products are produced in our state-inspected, FDA approved facility. Each time our juice, semi-syrup, or syrup is transferred it is filtered; thirteen times to be exact. The time between harvest and cooking is the difference between average and award-winning sorghum. During this time our juice is chilled to reduce the amount of starch, preheated to reduce the amount of chlorophyll and other impurities, and pastuerized. We use cooking instruments we have developed over the years to improve our sanitation and improve our syrup quality. There are many factors to consider when determining if sorghum is finished cooking such as- temperature, color, smell, speed of boil, size of bubble, and color of steam produced. Our sorghum exits the pan between 227-232 degrees fahrenheit, passes through a filter, and into a stainless steel two gallon pail. The sugar content of each pail is measured with a refractometer. If the pail meets our standards, it is immediately chilled. Sorghum continues to cook while over 180 degrees F, so the pails are submerged into a chilling tank. Then, it is hand-bottled and packaged.
From before the seeds are planted, until the last bottle is filled, every decision is made with quality in mind. My family produces products that are consumed by our customers, and we do not take that lightly. We hope you fall in love with our quality products, as much as we love the tradition.

Contact Us

Uncle Josh’s Sorghum

8865 State Route 69

Hawesville, Kentucky 42348