> Celebrating 10 years with a new/old jar January 18 2021
As of January, we had weathered the pandemic storm of 2020, but couldn’t say the same for our supply chain. The metal lids we use were out of stock everywhere, unless we could wait ’til February. Glass bottles? Well, get in line.
Basically, packaging was our toilet paper, except there wasn’t any to hoard.
That’s when The Mistake Jars came to mind. You see, we made a mistake early in our small business journey. We ordered a pallet of our “tall” jars, which we have screen printed, but we had miscalculated the weight of the honey. Honey is measured by weight, and the jars said they contained 12 ounces and not 10.
That’s right. We have had a pallet of paid-for jars sitting in our barn for years because we made a mistake but didn’t want to misrepresent the product. We kind of forgot about these jars … until the end of December.
Was there a way we could fill the gap in our supply chain, buy some time, by using these jars? Was there a way to use the jars without misrepresenting the contents? Put some honeycomb in the jar to bump up the weight? Could we scrape the 12 off and replace it with a 10?
Well, running a small business is all about learning to be creative with resources, flexible with problem solving and willing to accept mistakes.
That’s when it hit us: we have an anniversary coming up! It’s been 10 years since we officially signed up for this wild ride, so why not turn The Mistake Jars into a celebration of mistakes and creativity? The black-painted jars were our original packaging, and we even won an award for the design, so it could be a fun throwback!
Yep. We’re using The Mistake Jars to mark 10 years of ups and downs. We’re adorning them with a bright special label that both covers the 12 ounces and celebrates our journey.
We are planning a few changes this year, but we want to start 2021 with an acknowledgement of how far we’ve come. We want to celebrate! We want to embrace the flexibility that got us this far! We finally know how to pivot!
Also, we really need to use those jars.
> Things have a way of working out January 04 2021
Just when we thought we had ridden out the worst of the pandemic's effects on our business, we've been hit with supply-chain problems.
Now, we have nothing to complain about. After a dismal spring and summer, our fourth quarter (holiday) sales were amazing, breathing life and hope back into the sustainability sails of our small family business.
But as product moved from our shelves to our customers, we weren't able to replenish our jars and lids! We have plenty of honey left, but there seems to be a problem with containers. Our USA-made metal lids, which we usually could order and have in less than a week, are taking months to procure. We also have heard that candle makers who use glass jars are running into similar problems.
We are looking into some packaging changes to keep our honey "flowing," so to speak, and our current solution is our Dripless 1-pound Squeeze Bottle. We originally bought these to keep a Nashville-based biscuit chain supplied with a less-sticky way to serve our honey at its coffee station, but when they closed we were left with a few hundred of the bottles.
We have brought them into our inventory for a limited time, so if you've ever wanted to either buy a larger jar from us or have a quick way to make that peanut-butter-and-honey sandwich, this is the product for you!
You can buy it here or at our farm shop, The Honey House, in Eagleville. Three of our retailers also are carrying this bottle, The Country Gourmet in Murfreesboro, The Coffeehouse @ Second & Bridge in downtown Franklin and Hendersonville Produce Place in Hendersonville.
Stay tuned for our next big packaging announcement this month ... it's also a return to the past, but in a different way!
> Hemp Honey available again! August 15 2020
Here's a nice way to get your daily CBD! Our Hemp Honey product is 3 oz (85 g) of our delicious 100 percent pure whipped honey, blended with full-spectrum hemp extract. We get our hemp extract from a local (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) company.
Basically, this is our Tennessee Snow whipped honey with the added ingredient of hemp extract. Each half-teaspoon serving contains 12 mg of CBD (24 servings per jar).
You can stir it into coffee or tea, spread it on toast, or add it to your peanut-butter-and-honey sandwich!
Our website provider does not allow the sale of CBD products via its payment platform, which is why it's been absent for so long, so to order this product please click HERE and you'll hop over to a different web page. Unfortunately you will not take your shopping cart with you, but we are offering FREE SHIPPING on this product to (hopefully) make up for the hassle.
> Here's to the Baileys of the world! May 06 2020
When we found out in late April that our name was being used by an online merchant selling cheap greenhouses and patio furniture, it was a blow.
How could somebody be so awful? It was already a difficult time for us, with most of our boutique retailers closed, and now this? How could we possibly boost our online sales, which would hopefully keep us afloat, while someone was impersonating us and running a scam?
Well, I'll tell you how.
Because for every awful scammer out there, there is at least one really nice person.
Take Bailey, for example. She called to ask about the greenhouse she ordered for $129.99. She wasn't mean about it, just wanted to know why our business name was showing up on her debit card statement and when she would receive her order.
I told her who we are, what we do (and that we don't sell or even own a greenhouse), and she got serious.
"That's just terrible," she said. "I can't afford to lose $130, but it's also terrible to take advantage of a small business right now."
I told her we have received several calls, and we are doing everything we can to address the situation. In fact, our website is protected by Shopify's state-of-the-art security measures, so there's no data hacking happening at TruBee Honey dot com.
We ended the call, and I filed an identify theft complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
An hour later, guess who placed an order on our website?
Yep. It was Bailey.
We all know that hard times can bring out the worst in people. I'm a natural optimist, though, so I think hard times also can bring out the best. Most of the folks who are waiting for greenhouses and patio furniture to arrive have been nice, and one person in Delaware has made it his mission to find every Facebook ad this person/company has and comment that it's a scam.
So, yeah, there are some terrible people out there, but, thankfully, there are also a lot of Baileys.
PS: If you think you have been a victim of this scam, you should contact your credit card company or bank. If you need a copy of the report we filed with the Federal Trade Commission on 4/20/20 in regard to this matter, please send an email to me, Laura, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
> Farm Shop January 22 2020
Our farm shop, which is in Eagleville, is open seasonally. If you're in the area, this is where you can buy honey and beeswax products directly from us or do a "honey tasting" to find out which honey you like best.
We also have a small selection of bee-themed items, including Sophie Allport tea towels and accessory bags, raw beeswax by the pound and beekeeping equipment — from woodenware and hive tools to gloves and Honey B Healthy.
You may want to check before driving here by emailing email@example.com or calling 910-264-8025 or 615-656-3174.
We are located a few miles from the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, and we have two or three open houses each year.
The most interesting visit we've had, by far, was a press tour with Audi USA, where reporters and bloggers took the new Q3 all-wheel-drive vehicle for a little spin from Nashville to our farm. Many of them (such as David Yi, editor of Very Good Light) donned protective suits and got an up-close look inside a hive, while others just enjoyed a honey tasting and a visit to our shop.
Directions: address is 4818 Hwy 41a North, Eagleville, TN 37060, but BEWARE! There are two 4818s, so don't rely on GPS. Our farm is three miles south of downtown Eagleville. Look for the yellow sign with a big black bee.
PS: After your tour, make a day of it and have lunch or dinner in downtown Eagleville!
> Bee stings and real estate October 03 2019
Bee stings are like real estate.
It's all about location.
When asked the ever-popular question "Do you ever get stung?" we always say "yes," because we do. All the time.
It's just that some stings are more memorable than others because of their location. The one in the photo, for example, is the reason I never wear rings during beekeeping season. That was the only sting I got that day, not a bad one, right on the tip of my ring finger.
Before I thought much about it, and figured maybe I should take the ring off, it was too late. The swelling had started, just enough to make my wedding ring, a hand-engraved, cigar band style, impossible to remove.
After trying every Google-able tip or trick for getting a ring off, from plastic wrap to dental floss, I broke down and called my doctor. I needed to know whether or not to sacrifice a priceless ring for the sake of the finger. She said if I pressed the nail and it went from white to pink again, then I still had circulation. (She has a peculiar way of offering information but no advice.)
So, I took Benadryl and ibuprofen, then lay awake all night, miserable with the throbbing.
Jeff once was stung right below the tip of his nose, and he felt a sensation of the bee venom, or his body's reaction to it, rush through his sinuses. This past spring a glancing sting on the edge of my eyebrow caused my eye to swell shut like I'd been punched in the face.
Are you a beekeeper — or perhaps a more sensible, normal person — with a tale of an unusual sting? We'd love to hear about your experience, or even some tips for dealing with stings and swelling.
> Cherry-flavored lip balm NOT in the works September 25 2019
I always have loved lip balm. As a child my lips were always chapped, so Mom gave me cherry-flavored, Chapstick-brand lip balm.
Unfortunately, it never worked for me.
You see, I also love artificial cherry flavoring, from cough drops to Tootsie Pops.
So, I ate the Chapstick. Mom would look at my lips, ask why I wasn't using the Chapstick, then see little teeth marks in the wax. She started buying the kind in the black tube.
As a teenager and young adult my lips weren't chapped as often, but I also moved away from cherry flavors to all-natural lip products. And lots of them! I've always had a lip balm melting in the car, uncapped on the bathroom counter ready for action, laying low in my purse, you know.
When Jeff and I started keeping bees, making my own beeswax lip balm (and having an endless supply), was the most wonderful opportunity in the world. Our kitchen counter was dotted with empty contact lens cases, which is what I used for my test batches.
I perfected my recipe right when I became frustrated with my go-to brand of beeswax lip balm, which had become too dense and waxy for me. It wasn't smooth enough, and sometimes it sort of pulled at my lips when I was applying it, like a plane making a rough landing. It also seemed to have a lot of ingredients.
My five-ingredient recipe is just unbleached beeswax, sweet almond oil, peppermint essential oil (gives it a nice zing, but I don't feel the need to eat it), rosemary extract and Vitamin E. The last two ingredients are just natural preservatives, to give the almond oil a longer shelf life.
We sell our beeswax lip balm at select shops all over the country now, but its biggest fans seem to be here in the Nashville area. It makes my day when people tell me it's their favorite, or when they stock up at the Porter Flea markets, take pics of it in Paris (shout out to Melanie at Prohibition Popcorn) or order a dozen for stocking stuffers during the holidays.
If you need to stock up, we have a sale going on through the end of October. Discount code "purebeeswax" is good for 20 percent off both of our beeswax products (yes, there are only two).
Thank you for your support of our products — and for never asking for a cherry flavor.
> Exploring Eagleville April 28 2019
I heard somebody say the other day that Eagleville is "the new Leiper's Fork." I don't know if I'd go that far, because it's so off-the-beaten-track, but what you really need to know is this:
There is a 30 mph zone in downtown Eagleville, and it is enforced.
Ha! Seriously, the speed limit is for real, but you'll want to slow down anyway when you cruise into town. Eagleville is worth a day trip if you're in the Middle Tennessee area. There are several independently owned boutique shops and two successful restaurants which are open most days and at night.
We chose the Eagleville area for our new farm location because it's affordable and hasn't been overdeveloped yet. The downtown is a hodgepodge of design, but it's full of possibility and fun to explore. (If you're in the market for a cute little storefront for your next venture, the former Lamp Shop is for rent, across from the Mexican restaurant.)
On Friday, May 3, 2019, the City of Eagleville kicked off its debut First Friday event, with shops staying open late for shopping and live entertainment on city hall's front porch. This was a huge success (there was buck dancing!) and will continue.
As of June 1 there is a weekly farmer's market from 7 to noon every Saturday behind Eagleville City Hall (on main street at the stoplight). We plan to be there every week.
Here are a few tips:
Things to do:
VISIT THE HONEYHOUSE! Our apiary has bees to observe, seasonal wildflowers and a farm shop. We have just started offering tours, and we would love to host your group.
SHOPPING! Plan your visit on a Saturday, since not all the shops are open every day of the week. There are several antique/vintage shops, plus the new All Things Home, run by a husband-wife team that also does home staging.
EXPLORING! Plan a visit to our apiary and farm shop. You're welcome to drop in, but if you have a group of folks interested in beekeeping we are happy to plan a special beekeeping lesson and/or tour (fee may apply). In the summer months, we have drifts of wildflowers blooming, and honeybees foraging them, which make lovely photos.
BIKING! The American Whiskey Trail passes through downtown Eagleville. While the route bypasses our apiary (only by three lovely, winding miles), and there are no distillery stops (yet!) in the downtown area, you bikers may like to take a little side trip to see some bees and taste our Barrel-Aged Honey, made in collaboration with a popular local bourbon distiller.
The Eagleville Soaring Club is an airstrip less than half a mile from our apiary, and we love seeing the gliders pass over our barn on sunny, clear weekends.
The City of Eagleville recently installed municipal sewers so it's ready for growth.
Eagleville's school is K-12 (in sought-after Rutherford County) and recently had Trace Adkins, who lives nearby, sing the National Anthem during homecoming. More important, there is a school cat, named Bojangles. Also, the FFA students have plant sales in the spring and fall; I have bought several hanging baskets in the spring and mums in the fall.
Arrington Vineyards is just a few miles north of Eagleville, so you can spend a few hours exploring Eagleville, have lunch, end your day with a wine tasting at the vineyard, then head back to Franklin or Nashville.
Pro tips: Plan your day trip on a Saturday, since not all the shops are open during the week ... and accept the complimentary rolls at Maple Street Grill. (You're welcome.)
> Ultimate Honey Granola March 16 2019
I've never had much luck with granola recipes -- they are either too chewy, too hard, too sweet or there are too many hard-to-find ingredients. When my friend Linda offered to share her recipe for "Ultimate Irresistible Granola," I gave granola one more try, with fabulous results!
The following is based on her recipe. I left out a few things, like sesame seeds and wheat germ, which aren't things I keep on hand and would make this recipe too much of a reach for me.
Also, Linda goes out of her way to break up the clusters so this is a cereal-like consistency. My granola dream has always been a bar-like result that sticks together but is not too crunchy -- something that can be eaten in the car without crumbs everywhere. You can choose your own adventure at the end to have "Linda-style" granola or mine. It tastes great either way!
2.5 cups rolled, "old-fashioned" oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (I could only find salted)
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola, coconut, whatever, but I don't think olive oil would be good for this)
3/4 cup honey
1 cup total of dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries ... I used just cranberries because it's all I had on hand, but a mixture would be nice)
Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease/spray a cookie sheet unless you're using a nonstick one.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, nuts, seeds and coconut. In a small pan over medium heat, stir together the oil and honey, or heat in the microwave. Pour this over the nut mixture, stir to combine and spread evenly on cookie sheet. (Tip: don't wash that large bowl yet, as it will come in handy when adding the dried fruit later.)
Bake about 25 minutes, turning the mixture once during cooking, until nuts and oats are toasted. After removing from oven, add the dried fruit and stir well. (Tip: don't be tempted to overcook the granola because it seems too soft; it will harden when it cools!)
Option 1: Allow to cool thoroughly. If you want a coarse cereal-like texture, stir the mixture a couple of times to break up chunks.
Option 2: If you want bars, line the same cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper and press the still-warm mixture back onto the cookie sheet in an even layer. You can use your fingers or another piece of waxed paper to really compact the granola so it has a better chance of sticking together in bar form. You can score it while it's still warm to make it easier to get out later. Let cool completely. There will still be lots of crumbs when you remove the bars, but you can sprinkle these on top of yogurt or ice cream.
Store in an airtight container or bag at room temperature for up to two weeks.
> Podcast with Mark Fraley March 11 2019
Jeff and I had a blast talking to Nashvillian Mark Fraley last week! He invited us to come chat with him on his podcast, which explores conservation issues, gardening, the state of Tennessee and more.
The podcast, which is 34 minutes long, covers beekeeping history and some of the challenges modern beekeepers face, as well as the process for making our popular Barrel-Aged Honey and the recipe for my all-natural beeswax lip balm.
Please stay tuned to our social media outlets for upcoming news about our spring beekeeping classes and equipment sales at The Honeyhouse, which is what we call our new farm location in Eagleville. You can find The Honeyhouse on Facebook, and the address is 4818 Hwy 41 A North, Eagleville 37060.
> New shipping rates boost beeswax sales February 05 2019
We usually see a small jump in beeswax lip balm sales after the holidays.
We could do some fancy analysis as we take over the world one pair of lips at a time, but we like to think that folks received it for Christmas, love it, and want to stock up.
That said, we've never seen a bump in beeswax product sales like we did in January, and we think it's due to adding new shipping rates. Instead of the only options being UPS Ground or USPS Priority, we now have "USPS First-Class Package Service," which applies to packages under 1 pound.
So, rather than a bunch of abandoned online carts after shoppers realize shipping will cost more than the product, we're seeing a huge spike in sales of our all-natural beeswax lip balm and Beeswax Rub.
Rates for this shipping category typically run under $6, even all the way across the country. For example, Cassidy in Huntsville, Ala., paid $5.24 to ship a handful of lip balms, while Sheryl all the way in Spokane, Wash., paid $5.53 for the exact same order.
It may take a couple more days than USPS Priority, but at least you have something to look forward to.
> Holiday honey November 28 2018
We have two more shows this year where you can buy from us in person! In addition, for the first time in years we'll be offering comb honey for sale at both events. This isn't available through any of our retailers since we have a very limited amount.
* The NATIVE magazine holiday gift guide party is from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29 at The Shay, located at 9 City Place in Nashville. This event is free and open to the public. It's a highly curated group of artists and makers in an intimate setting, so we're looking forward to it.
* Of course, we usually end our year with Porter Flea Holiday Market and this year is no different! This year's event is Friday, Dec. 7 (sneak peek, tickets required) and Saturday, Dec. 8 (free and open to the public) at the Nashville Fairgrounds.
Come see us!
> Bloom April 06 2016
Each spring when I rediscover our "bloom calendar," it's like walking through the blossoms of the past few years.
You see, the bloom calendar is the same paper calendar book, dated 2008, where we record each spring's bloom, with each year being a different color ink. For example, 2009 was black pen, 2012 was blue marker and this year is purple Sharpie.
It's interesting to compare when things bloomed each year, and the difference is amazing. In 2012, when we had an early spring, I recorded on March 25, "black locust still in bloom," suggesting these trees had been blooming for a week or two. Last year, black locust didn't start blooming until late April, a whole month later.
Last year, on March 29, we had temps in the 20s, while this year cherry trees were in full bloom on the same date.
Other things find their way into the calendar. In 2009 on March 18 we found five bluebird eggs in a nest, the same day we sowed crimson clover, and on March 29 the eggs hatched. The same year also was a terrible tick year, with a notation at the end of April of "ticks everywhere!"
Also in 2009, a neighbor brought us a swarm of honeybees he found hanging from a fake floral arrangement at a cemetery, and we caught another swarm on our basketball hoop.
While beekeeping isn't typically thought of as farming, I love how this trade keeps us in touch with Nature. Everything about honey is dictated by the weather. Spring, especially in Middle Tennessee, is unpredictable, so each year we look forward to tasting our spring vintage.
It's the condensed essence of a volatile and unpredictable season, always different and always perfect.
> Honey Cough Syrup saves the night March 07 2016
Since two members of the hive recently came down with a bout of "walking pneumonia," we've had experience with some serious coughing.
While not a cure-all, and certainly not a substitute for medical advice if you're as sick as we were, we've found relief in the National Honey Board's "Tahitian Honey Cough Syrup." Here's our version of the recipe:
Honey Cough Syrup
1 cup honey
2-4 sprigs of fresh mint leaves (or more, to taste)
6-8 limes (enough for 1/2 cup juice)
Wash mint and limes. In small saucepan, warm honey for 4 minutes (don't boil). Add mint to the warming honey. Let the honey cool with the mint in it. Add lime juice and stir. Strain to remove mint leaves and any lime seeds. Store in a clean jar for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
This is a wonderful throat soother by the spoonful, or you may add it to cool water or warm tea. Put a couple of spoonfuls in your water bottle if you're about to speak or sing in public. Another option is "coughsicles," which you can make by mixing 1/2 cup honey syrup with 1.5 cups water and freezing in molds, ice cube trays or a small container.
> Honey, it's cold. January 13 2016
It's the time of year when folks open their pantries looking for honey because it's wonderful in tea, coffee and cocktails, and it can be a great cough remedy too. Unfortunately, when raw honey has been sitting in a cold, dark pantry, it often doesn't look like it did when it was put there.
In fact, here's a recent e-mail:
I have a sealed jar of summer wildflower honey in my cabinet. It is sealed, but has been sitting there for a few months while I finish my previous jar. Just looked at it and it has a lot of crystallization toward the top and the honey is a little cloudy. I didn't see an expiration date, so wanted to ask if this is normal over time/ok to eat or if it might be any kind of contamination?
I'd appreciate it if you'll let me know what you think!
Hi, L--! So glad you wrote to us and didn't throw away the honey. There is no expiration date on the jar because pure honey never "goes bad."
The honey is perfectly fine. Our honey is raw and unpasteurized. Because we don't treat the honey with heat, it tends to crystallize over time. This is perfectly normal, and the honey is safe to eat.
Here's what to do to return your honey to a perfect texture: remove the lid, and place the honey in a small pot of warm water. Let the water simmer, stir the honey a wee bit, and it will be good as new. This shouldn't take more than a few minutes; you don't want to overheat or boil the honey.
You may be interested to know that some honey vintages tend to crystallize faster than others. For example, our spring vintage rarely crystallizes at all, while our Wildflower Summer vintage (which I think you have) crystallizes quicker, especially when kept in a cold environment. So much about honey, from taste and color to sugar content and crystallization rate, depends on what the honeybees were foraging when they made the honey.
I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks again for giving us a chance to save your honey!
> Small Biz Saturday not about us November 28 2015
We love the idea of Small Business Saturday, also called Shop Small Saturday and Shop Local Saturday.
It's the special day sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday that's designed to boost sales for small business owners. While we are small business owners and farmers, we don't have a brick-and-mortar store.
But we sell to many, many folks who do.
These are people who have taken the leap and invested in a storefront. They dust the shelves, sweep the sidewalks and carefully plan how much inventory to buy from us each month. They represent our product, carefully display it and sometimes offer customers a little taste (because when they taste they buy!).
These are folks like Hollie, owner of the Savory Spice Shop in Franklin, Tenn., and Barry (pictured at right), owner of The Produce Place in Nashville. There's Ted, owner of Watson-Kennedy in Seattle. Louise of the Artisan Cheese Company in Sarasota. Kevin and Megan Ouzts, who own and operate The Spotted Trotter in Atlanta.
These are the small business owners that took a risk on us and take risks on others like us. They bought our products when we thought two cases of honey and a dozen beeswax lip balms was a huge order!
We think Small Business Saturday is about them, not about us. This weekend, we hope you'll hit the sidewalks of your local downtown, wherever that may be, and look for independent retailers who sell products from local farmers, artisans and crafters.
We hope you'll shop small, shop local or shop 'til you drop! And if you happen to see some local honey, by all means buy it.
> From rum, to gin, to honey September 09 2015
An oak barrel that's been around
The thing about the folks at Corsair Distillery is they're not afraid to experiment.
So, having heard of our Barrel-Aged Honey, they kindly handed us one of their used, still-wet barrels and said, "Put some honey in it and let's see what happens."
The oak barrel's first incarnation was as a vessel for Corsair's spiced rum. Then they did a barrel-aged gin the same barrel. And that's when we got the barrel. It was still dripping with moisture and gin, the wood swollen tight, so we loaded it with our 2014 Wildflower Summer vintage and let it sit.
While this is all very exciting, the truth is we forgot about it. Spring and heavy beekeeping came around, and what was happening in that Corsair barrel was the last thing on our minds.
Just imagine our delight when we remembered it a few months later and tasted it. Wow! The wheels were turning with cocktail ideas, which teas to stir it into and, well, just how much could fit on a spoon.
This limited-edition Corsair-Barrel-Aged-Honey is lighter and more spicy than our original Barrel-Aged Honey, which is aged in oak barrels from a whiskey distiller. Corsair launched the honey at September's 3st of the Month and used the honey in a Bees Knees cocktail.
You can buy this honey only at Corsair in Nashville or from us on September 12 at either the Made In Nashville festival or the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival. We only have a few cases left of this delicious collaboration, and when it's gone it's gone.
> Spider webs September 08 2015
Spider webs are everywhere lately.
I'm not talking about Halloween decorations in stores, but between the tall grasses of our pasture and bee yard. Every morning the dogs and I ramble a bit while things are still wet from dew, and the sun breaks over the trees.
I'm guessing there aren't more spider webs this time of year, but I just happen to notice them.
You see, with the cool nights and hot days, there's an early morning fog that settles on our land, just before the sun comes up. The fog passes over and through the grasses and wildflowers, then the sun stops it in its tracks. Moisture settles on the plants like a clear glaze, before it burns off in the heat.
So, for a window of time on these late-summer mornings, the Earth in this little postcard of land is glowing with fresh light on twinkling plants and webs.
My favorite plants are the little bottle-brush-like grasses, their hundreds of short, feathery wisps glazed with dew. But they can't compare to the glistening spider webs, their symmetry stringing through the air.
Most of the webs are shaped in what I think of as "cobweb" style, a center circle or octagon that repeats itself like a pebble in a lake, echoing over and over. Many of these are straining under the weight of the dew, so they look worn out as they span the grasses. They're like tattered streamers at the end of a raucous surprise party, making me think I arrived a wee bit too late.
There's something reverent and small about these webs. Even in their wet disarray, their simplicity and complexity takes me by surprise. Like much of Nature, they're there all the time, but we don't always notice.
It just takes certain conditions — conditions in us and around us — to reveal them.
> Snow in August August 10 2015
Can it snow in the South during the summer? Well, it kinda just did.
Usually, our Tennessee Snow whipped honey is a seasonal item, since it doesn't hold up well in cold temps.
However, we've made a special batch in celebration of being number one on Food & Wine magazine's "Editors' Top 10" list (August 2015 issue).
F&W staffer Julia Heffelfinger described our honey, saying, "This is so creamy, I'd spread it on a biscuit instead of butter."
We use this honey, which is also known as "spun" or "creamed" honey, on anything that calls for a spreadable topping, including biscuits, toast, cinnamon rolls and peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches. (Try it with something from Nashville-based Nut Butter Nation, like the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Peanut Butter.)
It also can be stirred into tea and coffee — or, of course, eaten straight out of the jar.
Since you're on our website, you know you can buy it here, but if we're out try one of our retailers, including Savory Spice Shop in Franklin, Tenn.; or The Produce Place and Anderson Design Company, both in Nashville. This time of year, it's only in local shops where we can be sure it arrives safely and remains in an air conditioned environment.
> 'Not much to look at' April 30 2015
"Well, they're not much to look at," he said, "but they make good honey."
After moving to Tennessee from coastal North Carolina a few years ago, this was our introduction to the black locust tree. The old man at the farmers market, who asked if we had black locust honey, added to his description:
"It's just a regular old tree, but in the spring they get these shabby-lookin' blossoms," he said.
This prompted a search to identify the black locust tree. And "shabby" is a good word to describe it, at least from a distance. The blooms hang in a pendulous cluster, sort of like a bunch of grapes, but from far away they look like a bundle of tattered tissues. Up close, you'll see delicate, white, sweet-smelling blossoms — which I have heard are edible (and sometimes deep fried) but haven't tasted (or fried).
Right now, at the end of April, which is a late bloom for this tree, you can see black locust trees in bloom all over the middle Tennessee area. Native to the southeast, and considered invasive in some areas, we have seen many of these trees along I-40, and on the edges of fields and pastures, where they haven't yet been crowded out by more aggressive trees.
More importantly, our bees are feasting on these blossoms! Black locust honey is sought after because it is a hard nectar flow to "catch." Tennessee springs are usually wet, and often cold, two things which keep honeybees from foraging this short-lived nectar source. It's a special treat to have black locust nectar filling out the taste of our spring honey, and we're looking forward to finding out what this vintage will taste like.
Black locust trees may not be "much to look at," but their nectar is really something to savor.
> Come see us! April 13 2015
We know it's finally spring when we start planning our weekends around local festivals and events. We're still working out the details on a few shows, but here's a quick list of where you can meet us, sample our honey and maybe take a peek at our observation hive this spring and summer.
- Green Door Gourmet Spring Festival, 11 to 6 on Sunday, April 26 at 7011 River Road Pike, Nashville, TN 37209.
- Sevier Park Festival, 10 to 6 on Saturday, May 2 in Sevier Park and along 12th South Avenue, Nashville.
- Produce Place Strawberry Festival, Saturday, May 9, 4000 Murphy Road, Nashville, TN 37209.
- International Biscuit Festival, 9 to 4 on Saturday, May 16 in Knoxville, TN (Biscuit Bazaar area).
- Tomato Arts Festival, 9 to 6 on Saturday, August 8 in East Nashville's Five Points area.
Follow us on Twitter @trubeehoney to get more details on what we're bringing to these shows and any specials we might have.
> The perfect snack January 14 2015
We're often asked for our favorite honey recipe.
Everyone knows our staple meal is peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches, but we get the feeling this doesn't count as a "recipe."
We're not sure if this counts as a recipe either, since there's not much more prep than with the sandwiches, but it's still the one thing that seems to unite a range of foods into one big taste.
So, try this:
Take a 4 oz "log" of plain, chilled chevre (we fancy Noble Springs), roll it in chopped pecans and drizzle with raw honey. Serve with thin apple slices, such as a not-too-tart Golden Delicious, or with a crisp, chewy baguette.
This is a great low-carb snack, and is also a wonderful appetizer at cocktail parties.
Trust us. You'll leave with an empty platter.
> It's not about corners. We don't cut strings. August 01 2014
In some ways, the hang tags for our new Barrel-Aged Honey were a turning point.
Now, these aren't any old piece of paper with information, mind you. They are the Cadillac of hangtags, complete with scoring, a hole punched in the corner and an elastic string that goes through the hole and — get this! — the string is tied in a little knot.
These hang tags cost an extravagant 24 cents each.
If you have a small business and are interested in such details, it's interesting to know we could have gotten the tags for half that.
But, well, there were little preference boxes on the order sheet, with questions like "Would you like these scored?" Our tags fold in half, like a little book, but we thought, "Oh no, we can do that ourselves."
Then the question, "Would you like holes punched in the corners?" Well, we have a hole puncher, don't we?
Then they asked about the strings.
"Would you like us to cut and attach the elastic strings for your hang tags? If so, how long do you want them?"
Wait a minute. Did they say "cut and attach," meaning that the hang tags would arrive in turn-key condition, ready to put on the bottles?
Did they say, "Friend, you won't have to sit up late one night, measuring strings, feeding them through holes and tying knots in them"?!
You see, we've grown a lot lately. While there was a time when we did everything ourselves, some of the best advice we've gotten is to learn to let go.
In fact, it's easy to micro-manage your small business, but it's not always best. It's important, we've been told, to find your strengths and use them. Equally important is to identify the activities someone else can do.
And let them.
> TruBee in ... Antarctica? February 28 2014
It's not often we get a letter like this.
For years, a customer in North Carolina has been buying our Beeswax Rub for her son, a global explorer. We first heard about Kevin when he was working on a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. His mother thought he could use something for his chapped hands and face.
Well, Kevin seems to have a thing for cold, harsh conditions. Now he's in Antarctica, and his mother continues to send him our Beeswax Rub.
We received a letter from Kevin, along with photos from "the deep field camp (Byrd) on the West Antarctic ice sheet."
Here's what he said:
"Dear Laura —
I wish had words for how thankful I am for your Beeswax Rub. It's kind of an inside joke that Antarctica is a "Harsh Continent." That's always everyone's way of explain a problem.
It is harsh and dry on your skin. Antarctic winds chap your face. And while your product is incredible for hands and faces ... the smell is what I fell in love with. There are very few smells in Antarctica. Nothing frozen smells, and everything else never thaws enough. So, your rub's smell was the highlight of two seasons in Antarctica. Thank you. Kevin."
It's hard to get a better testimonial than that!
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