Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cold Weather Markets

Farmers markets are popular social meeting places. People gather not only for the fresh food, but also for renewing friendships. Most of the regular markets have closed for the year, but there are a number of seasonal markets throughout the month of December. Many of these markets bring in artists with a wide variety of creative products. Peace Bee Farm is participating in a number of these markets, selling our honey and bee hive products. Honey sells exceptionally well on cold days. Folks think of enjoying honey on hot buttered biscuits or pancakes. A cup of hot tea with honey and lemon first warms the hands and then the entire body. People purchase 100 percent beeswax candles and beeswax soaps, hand creams, body balms, and lip glosses either for themselves or as gifts for friends.

We ran into many of our friends at the Memphis Farmers Market’s one-day December market day. Large numbers of people passed among the booths of farmers and artisans. They were eagerly purchasing the cool-weather produce, which included a number of varieties of greens, turnips, and potatoes. Jams, jellies, and preserves were popular items as were many baked goods: pies, cakes, and breads of every description. I photographed Rita and Jill Forrester of Whitton Flowers and Produce on the frosty morning at the outdoor farmers market. That’s Jill wearing the blue and green knit hat. Peace Bee Farm maintains a bee yard at Whitton, Arkansas at Jill and Keith Forrester’s Whitton Farms. Our bees pollinate the Forrester’s crops and produce cotton, soybean, and wildflower honey from surrounding fields. You can visit their web site at Meanwhile, bee yard activity is reduced to a walk around inspection of the bee hives in cold weather, mainly checking that hive covers, weighted down by bricks, are in place. Hive entrances are reduced to a very small opening. It’s best to not open the hive and chill the bees when the temperature is below 50 degrees.

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