Over a year ago I wrote about Bee movie and how bees may be small creatures but their contributions to our community make a huge impact. The film I saw with my children was the perfect metaphor to describe how important the contributions are that small businesses make in our economy. Today I had the great pleasure of meeting a local beekeeper and small business owner, Tommy Van Horn of East Hill Honey Co.
Van Horn took a friend and I to see his bee pastures in Milton where honey is cultivated. I had my first up close and personal experience with swarming bees and honey making. I wore a protective suit (see picture above. I’m the short one) while Tommy gave me a demonstration on how to tell when the honey is ripe or still in the making. The comb wax formations were incredible to see and touch.
Tommy’s background is equally impressive. A friend introduced him to beekeeping and he quickly developed a passion for it, even with no former agricultural experience. He is kind, patient and heartfelt about his chosen profession. He loves what he does. His words about his family, business and the community comes through when he speaks.
Van Horn mentioned particularly loving the balance between working outside in nature independently with networking to market and sell his products. From start to finish, he’s involved in every aspect of his service. His honey is more than a jar – it’s a way of life for he and his family that is leaving an incredible impact on the community too.
I was even more impressed with his thoughtfulness in caring for the bees. He strives to protect them and provide safe, growing conditions for them to thrive in. Van Horn’s family and his beliefs play important roles in how he manages his business–with compassion and integrity. He had a calming effect on the bees and on me as I watched the action a few feet away.
East Hill Honey has the drive to grow their honey and the financial backing to expand operations which they are doing soon. In all this development, they will provide greater benefits to the environment and increase the health of those of us lucky to consume it.
Their honey is more than just that glowing, delectable and sticky product in our tea, breads and cakes. My only hope is that other local businesses can bottle up the same success that East Hill is reaping. I want our whole region to see sweet rewards and be allergen free too.