Food & Drink

Sugarcane-Skewered Scallops

Serves 4

Get Roth Farms’ recipe

Photo: Field to Feast

Sugar is the most economically valuable field crop in the Sunshine State, with Palm Beach County growing about 75 percent of Florida’s commercial sugarcane, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Behind the numbers are small farms that are members of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, harvesting, transporting, and milling the sweet crop. “My dad was one of the founders of the sugarcane co-op,” says Rick Roth, a third-generation farmer.

Much has changed since his father started farming in Belle Glade in 1949. They planted sugarcane in the 1960s, but never stopped growing other crops, such as leafy vegetables, radishes, sweet corn, and beans. “Being diversified is an efficient way to farm with crop rotation,” Rick explains. “The rotation breaks the cycle of insects and diseases.”

While Roth Farms focuses on using its land as efficiently as possible, Rick says he also wants to raise awareness about the issues affecting farmers today and offers tours of the farm to share best practices. “We’re on a mission to tell the world that with agriculture you can be part of the solution, or part of the problem,” he says. “We’re part of the solution.”

If you don’t want to make your own, sugarcane skewers are available in specialty stores and in the produce section of many large supermarkets. The skewers add a subtle sweetness to the buttery scallops.


  • Marinade

    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

    • 2 tablespoons finely minced sweet onion

    • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

    • 2 teaspoons lime zest

    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

  • Scallops

    • 8 jumbo sea scallops

    • 4 sugarcane skewers

    • 1 tablespoon butter

    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    • 1/4 cup dark rum


  1. Mix olive oil, onion, garlic, lime zest, and mint in a small bowl. Pour over scallops and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours.

  2. To make sugarcane skewers, wash the sugarcane stalk thoroughly. Place the cane on a cutting board and position a sharp knife (a cleaver works well) horizontally across the cane. Be careful; the cane is harder than you might thing. Apply as much pressure as you can or tap the knife with a rubber mallet or hammer to help push it through. Trim the ends of the sugarcane and cut the stalk crosswise into 5-inch sections. Trim the tough skin of the cane. With a heavy chef’s knife or cleaver, cut the cane into flat ¼-inch-thick strips. Cut each strip lengthwise into sections. Sharpen the ends of the skewers into points.

  3. Place two scallops on each skewer. Heat butter and olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sear scallops, lightly brushing with rum as they cook, about 3 to 5 minutes total.

Recipe from Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans. Reprinted with permission of the University Press of Florida.