Carmel Farmers Market’s Pollinator Preservation Efforts
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Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // CFM, Jennifer Hershberger and Hunter’s Honey Farm
We spoke with CFM President Ron Carter about an important initiative to spread awareness of the importance of preserving pollinator habitats as they are a vital part of our local and nation’s food supply.
A Salute to July 4th Traditions and Honeybees
Due to an unfavorable early growing season this year, Carter informed us that the market did not have sweet corn for the parade to hand out nor for the market on July 1. He anticipates the market will have sweet corn from My Dad’s Sweet Corn the second or third week of July, and CFM will post when it will be arriving on their social media.
“The weather in the early part of the growing season was not conducive to the growth of the early plants,” Carter explained. “With that said, we handed out Honey Stix from Hunter’s Honey Farm along the parade route. It’s important to all of us that bee habitats be saved because without bees to pollinate plants, et cetera, we don’t have a great future for the development of and growing of crops.”
A Mission to Teach and Preserve
For more than a century, Hunter’s Honey Farm has been producing pure and natural honey and is one of CFM’s treasured vendors. Owner Tracy Hunter shared more about his family’s roots in beekeeping and the importance of saving pollinators as they relate to our food sources.
“Back at the turn of the last century, my great-grandfather had an orchard in southern Indiana,” Hunter said. “My grandfather ran about 800 hives, and his daughter, my mother, kept bees. I got my first hive when I was 14, and my grandfather helped me hive it. He taught me 90 percent of what I know about beekeeping. Hunter’s Honey Farm is running 1,000 hives throughout Indiana, Florida and California. We used those hives to produce honey, bee pollen, beeswax and propolis.”
Additionally, Hunter’s Honey Farm makes an array of products, such as skin care products, candles, sauces and delectable honey treats. They have more than 30 different flavors of Honey Stix and five varieties of honey candy.
“We use our hives to pollinate cucumbers down in Columbus, Indiana, and those cucumbers are contracted with Vlasic pickles,” Hunter stated. “Pollination is a big part of our income here at the honey farm. The hives have such an important role. There are seven products that the beekeeper can get out of the hive, and honey is just one of them. Out of all seven of the products, none are as important as the pollination that we get from the bees. Honeybees do 80 percent of the insect pollination, and they are responsible for every third bite of food that you take today … they are very, very important.”
When asked how people can help the pollinators by planting in their yards, Hunter said, “Many of the plants that we call ‘weeds’ are really a food source for bees, such as dandelions, clover, thistle, goldenrod and autumn olive. I know these are the things that most people try to remove from their lawns, but they’re very beneficial to honeybees. There are many plants out there that can benefit bees. If people want, they can contact a seed company to get a pollinator mix or we sell a pollinator mix at the farm and on our website for all of the pollinator species — not just honeybees — and our packets have about 25 different varieties of wildflowers, many of which are native to Indiana.”
Hunter’s Honey Farm offers tours of the farm, which include honey tasting, a beekeeping discussion and a candle-making demonstration. Additionally, honey bottling can be scheduled upon request. Visit huntershoneyfarm.com for more information and a complete list of products for sale.
For a complete list of CFM events and vendors, visit carmelfarmersmarket.com.
Market Memory: Carmel Farmers Market’s Marching Kazoo Band
“We had almost twenty of our volunteers ‘marching’ in the [CarmelFest] parade,” Carter recalled. “They were playing a repertoire of patriotic songs and doing marching moves with kazoos — kazoos to the left, kazoos to the right. It was the day after Andy Griffith had passed away [July 3, 2012], so we did the theme song to ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ It was very impromptu because we had not had the chance to ‘rehearse’ it, but it was fun, we think, for our guests along the parade route, and it was certainly fun for the [CFM] volunteers.”