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Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Kumquats

Hi there! At the beginning of August, I noted the huge ground cracks at our lovely little Bee Ranch. I was hand watering my garden and thought I’d drop some water into one of the cracks to see if it’d fill up a bit of land and after about 30 seconds, I gave up. No water filling up at all. It was sort of sad to see the land like that again – even though it’s sort of typical for August in South Texas, it’s still hard to see things drying up so badly. Anyway, here we are approaching the end of the month and we have now had about 16 inches of rain (give or take a few inches as I’ve lost track of the rainfall). We keep thinking, “what a weird August we are having!” But we are not complaining. It’s just different.

Mark and his crew continue to harvest and are just about to wrap up the year. Only a little bit left to pull from the yards and extract. It has been a bit of work to make sure everything is dry before storing but Mark is getting through it all to get the moisture levels to where they need to be so the honey doesn’t go bad. Check out this selection of comb honey the bees made this year –

Honeycomb 2016

Sales at the Bee Ranch on the two mornings we are open to the public have been awesome and make us super happy we decided to focus our energies to increasing traffic here instead of out and about. The beekeeper workshops Mark conducts on Saturdays he’s free have been awesome – what a great way for new beekeepers to meet each other and continue learning from one another. Last weekend we covered how to process Ross Rounds and of course we sampled for our guests – super fun! Join us sometime if you can. You can check all our social media for upcoming topics and other developments or you can just call us at 830-305-7925.

Ross Rounds beekeeper workshop

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Mark at Williams-Sonoma

I want to thank my beekeeper for learning to be such a great sport about being in so many pictures! Someone’s got to represent us in front of the camera, right? We kicked off Saturday at the Pearl market and took off for Williams-Sonoma’s Artisans’ Market once Sonia and Jessica showed up to relieve us. The weekend markets and events are often our rewards for working all week – we enjoy interacting with customers and talking bees, candles and honey and even non-bee-related stuff on ocassion. πŸ™‚ We want to thank the staff of Williams-Sonoma at La Cantera. It was a lot of fun and they really took good care of us. We thoroughly enjoyed it and are happy we were included on the invited list.

In other news and development, we are pleased to share with you that Poteet Country Winery has now received their second batch of honey from us and are carrying Guadalupe County Wildflower and Frio County Huajilla at their store in Poteet. We have not had a chance to visit them yet but we are looking forward to it and of course will share some pictures with y’all. For now, you can find and support them at the Pearl Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, they’re just down the row from us!

One last thing – besides the fantastic produce we have access to at market, we also benefit from our friends using our honeys in different ways. Here’s a gift we received from our Sprinfield Farm friends – homemade chocolate syrup – YUM! It is so fun to learn what others use honey for in their lives and products.

Love gifts from friends

The list of recipes and uses continue to grow!
For wax: shoe polish, wax polish, artwork, iron work coating, scrubs, soaps, balms and salves, lubricant for sewers, quilters, and woodworkers.
For honey: Soaps, marinades, sauces, granola, facials, dog treats (for allergy relief!)

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Untitled

While we worked on the display for the Gift & Gourmet hutch, we listened to the wonderful rain coming down on the honey house. What a wonderful soaking we are getting! This will really pump up the greenery and liven up blooms for the bees. I’m sure they will get the boost they need from this rain (and Saturday’s 1.5 inches) and chug along with their honey production. Good. Because we have a lot of people wanting that awesome local honey and that includes me. I love our specialty honeys but I am so in love with our Wildflower and Mesquite. We are on our last two pound jar from last year and don’t think I don’t have this thought in my mind – if we run out before the harvest, how can I get a frame of honey out? Hmm…

The first picture is our work in progress with the hutch we found for our retail display at Gift & Gourmet. EXCITED is an understatement about wanting to see their new location downtown. They have been renovating an old building and Mark said it looked great today when he stopped by there to speak with the owner. He said it brought William Sonoma to mind. o_o I l-o-v-e that store. Too bad I don’t make a lot of money so I can go buy things there all the time. πŸ™‚ Anyway, sounds like we are going to have our very own WS shop in town and I am thrilled. I have love Gift & Gourmet since before I even moved to Seguin. They are exquisite – product and staff alike. Check them out if you haven’t already.

The picture below is a Chinese Tallow, one of two we saw on our walk Sunday evening. Bees love it and we saw a couple on there so maybe they are our little backyard girls. There are two things I want to share with you about this – 1. I almost never remember the correct name of this tree. I tend to call it a Japanese Tallow and sometimes I get it right but second guess myself so that now it’s a game with me and Mark to see if I get it right. 2. The fact that we went for a walk that was about a mile, maybe a little over, is awesome news for me. I had stopped running and walking outdoors because my allergies had gotten so bad several years ago. But now that they are better (thanks local honey), I wanted to try it. So we did. And no headache. I am THRILLED. Thanks honey bees.

Chinese Tallow bloom

And as we come to the close of my post, it’s sprinkling. How lovely to have more rain. And the rest of the week also promises thunderstorms here and there. I have the solo piano channel on Pandora playing. And I have Mark sitting across from me working on his own work. And I don’t think I could ask for a more perfect life with a more perfect person for me. My beekeeper is helping me get through some of the down times I have with my mother gone. Amazingly, he found the one thing that flips my emotional switch pretty easily and when he utters that one thing, I find my tears drying and I am either laughing or trying to not to get mad. Weird, right? I won’t tell you what that thing is because I don’t want everyone stopping me from crying from time to time. As I tell Mark…”IT’S HEALTHY TO CRY!!!!”

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Waiting in the HEB lobby

We just got in from the honey house for the evening. We have been trying to finish up bottling and labeling local honey and when we finished that, we moved back to labeling boxes of specialty honeys. Man it is still hot out there. I was drenched by the time we called it a night. We also prepped for tomorrow morning’s beekeeping class as well as the 2011 Honey Harvest Sale Event from 4-8p here at the ranch on Krezdorn. More on that tomorrow.

This week we celebrated our tenth anniversary – yay us! I got the day off Wednesday and we had a super fab day together. I don’t think we’ve ever been more busy or more happy. Our big meeting was with a representative of HEB, which is the larger grocer in Texas for those of you not from here. It was so flattering and exciting to be contacted by them and asked for product information. We feel the initial meeting went well and we look forward to hearing from them after they do some number crunching. The process was so interesting. I told some friends that I felt as if I was in grade school and I was waiting my turn to have a project judged. πŸ™‚ Not stressful, just suspenseful sort of. We entered the lobby of the headquarters in San Antonio, along with several other people and their products. The above picture was the only one I managed to snap since I didn’t think anyone would want me snappy pictures of them waiting their turn. That’s me sitting there with our bag of samples and sampler box we made just for the visit. They got to keep the sampler box. Lucky! We met two very nice men who were from New Mexico I believe. They were presenting a new package of beer that HEB already carries in some of their 300 stores. They gave us some input on their experience working with HEB and it was all positive. They said it was a “life changer” if you get to partner with the store. In a good way (when we asked which way they meant lol). So here’s to HEB and the possibilities. We’ll keep you posted!

Other work included Mark trekking out to the yards to check on the queens from Derwin Thrash of Mississippi. Great news – all queens were accepted AND some of them had already gotten super busy and had several frames of eggs laid. Mark was very, very pleased to see this. He’s ordered more queens from Derwin and will use them when he divides the remainder of the hives in September. Derwin was mentored by the awesome JN Russell. We still think of him and miss him dearly. Wish we could still visit and have a cup of tea and some of his pecan pie made from scratch. We are so glad to carry on with Derwin.

Derwin's queen bee

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Honey Display at Lily's Cookies

Today is pretty significant for Gretchen Bee Ranch! We are very happy to share that our honey is now available in our very first retail outlet – the wonderful Lily’s Cookies of San Antonio. πŸ™‚ Mark took several cases and orders in for a San Antonio delivery today and stopped by the shop to set up a display of our honey. I sure wish I could have been there with him for this first but I am happy to see a few shots of the setup and he had a great time doing it and working with the folks there.

Where to begin! I used to live in the Monte Vista area of San Antonio before Mark and I married and I love, love, love the small, locally owned shops in that area. I discovered Lily’s Cookies many months ago when I drove down McCullough for old times sake. I stopped in for a cookie, fell in love, snapped a few pictures…and the rest is history. And as with all places and things I appreciate and love, I started sharing with my friends how great this cookie boutique is – it’s more than just a bakery, it’s an awesome experience!

Anniversary cookies for Mark

Christine is the owner and she and her staff are wonderful – friendly and helpful. And the cookies are both beautiful AND delicious. Their creations are divine. Though I love the cookies for myself, I enjoy even more picking out special ones for those I care about – like these special anniversary cookies Christine and her staff made for us so I could surprise Mark back in July. They were so great, I could hardly bear to bite into them. Mark liked them a lot and dug right in. πŸ™‚ Ok, I know I’m going on and on but it’s because I’m so excited about this news and I can’t wait to visit next week. If you are in SA or passing through, please do stop by and check out the shop. You won’t regret it. We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with Christine on a this new adventure!

Super cute bakery in SA

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