Getting Started with Local Honey
Saturday, June 21, 2011 began as a beautiful morning with blue skies and a crisp breeze…..a perfect day for the opening of the Clinton County Farmers Market. After negotiating a business plan with local beekeeper and apitherapist, Jim Higgins of Hillsboro, Ohio, I had his and my honey bee products ready to go. I nervously loaded my new tent, table, folding chairs and products into our small car. My products included a box of my homemade honey soap, bee pollen, royal jelly, bee venom and Jim’s famous wild flower honey. After loading up we anxiously left for the market in Wilmington, Ohio, a quaint picturesque town located in Southern, Ohio.
Upon arrival, veteran vendors and the director helped us set up and at 8:30 AM, the market was officially open. People quickly gathered around and within ten minutes our first local honey bear was sold–to our local coffee shop, South Street Coffee House. I had lots of questions about organic bee venom that morning and while there are some honey bee products that can be considered truly organic, that official certification is very difficult to obtain. Instead, my products are considered organically produced, meaning they are produced in an area with little to no pesticide residue. After fielding those questions we sold several more honey bears, bee venom and homemade soap. Wow! This was pretty “cool”.
Honey Bee Products at the Farmers' Market
The Joys of Local Foods
As the morning continued our nerves quieted. We looked around and noticed the purple lavender booth; the pretty homemade bird houses; the various spice racks, the homemade berry pies and local musicians singing and playing. It was quite a mosaic of color and sounds. As the market continued into late summer the tables of produce evolved into new hues and smells. Organic vegetables including red tomatoes, yellow sweet corn, green beans along with large watermelon, small squash, long zucchini and tiny cherry tomatoes hit the scene and the community lavished the fresh produce. Lucky for us we were located next to John Sharp’s sweet corn or we may have missed out – that corn sells out fast! Instead we were usually the first one in line.
Lessons from the Farmers’ Market
I learned, or remembered, something about my experience at the market. The simple things in life are free, or at least inexpensive. Strangers becoming friends; seeds sprouting into vegetables and fruit; hands creating art and music. My effort to promote and to support bees and their products was a nice sidebar. The real joy came from the people of Wilmington.
Do you support your local farmer’s market? What’s your favorite type of products there?
I am a resident of Medina, Ohio-”The Sweetest Town on Earth”
and I recall numerous stories about The A.I. Root Company and its influence with my immediate family during the depression. My father, Wayne Crum and my grandfather worked the hives at the Root Company for pennies a day supporting their family of seven. The stories were full of interesting facts embedded in wit.