Background Image

Arkansas Living February 2011 : Page 19

He processes each super every 14 days from March to October, with the peak months being June and July. During the win-ter months, the bees feed off a special formula Watkins devised, consisting of sugar water and oils. They survive the cold weather by clustering together in a tight ball inside the super and, regardless of the outside tempera-ture, they maintain a constant 93 degrees in-side their cluster. Watkins takes great pleasure in selling his honey from his bright yellow “Buffalo River Honey” sports utility vehicle at vari-ous places along the highways and byways of northwest Arkansas. On any given day, when people stop and taste samples of his wild honey while deciding which to buy, he enter-tains them with his colorful stories. A devout “An old lady once told me, ‘When you are green, you grow, and when you are ripe, you rot,’ and that stuck in my mind. So I keep learning,” Watkins said. storyteller and performer, Watkins thrives on talking with his customers. He likes selling his product the way people used to do — one on one. “I can tell them about my product. I’m in touch with them,” he said. “It keeps me sharp.” Nothing is wasted at the honey house. The wax that is scraped from the supers to re-lease the honey is put onto a solar wax melter. As the wax gradually melts and drips into a container, it leaves behind sediments that are later devoured by hungry bees. Carla, Wat-kins’ wife, re-melts the wax in a double-boiler to produce beeswax candles, perfume, and lip balm by adding essential and botanical oils to attain attractive and useful end products. Beeswax is also used commercially in cosmet-ics, artists’ materials, and furniture polish. “Raising honeybees is my personal min-istry,” Watkins said. To him, apiculture is his passion. He is a professional in the art of bee-keeping and totally committed to it. If you don’t catch up with Watkins along the highways or byways of northwest Arkansas or at any of the summer festivals, you can visit his website at or e-mail him at • FEBRUARY 2011 585$/$5.$16$6/,9,1* , 19

Cowell Steel Structures, Inc.

Using a screen reader? Click Here