Retired and Beekeeping: One Couple Explains How To Sell Honey Using the Honor System

Beginning beekeepers Laura and Hank make their living selling pure, natural honey along State Highway 53. They trust their customers and neighbors to follow the honor system: Take one jar, deposit the money in the money box.

| January/February 1979

Pure, Natural Honey For Sale!

Travelers who take State Highway 53 through the southeast corner of Missouri slow down and usually stop when they see our sign: "FOR SALE: Pure, Natural Honey, Homegrown. Serve Yourself ... Make Your Own Change."

And, despite the crime reports that flood the media, our customers constantly prove that people are basically honest, that our world isn't "goin' to the dogs" and that the "honor system" is a great way to sell a product.

As you've probably guessed by now, my husband (Hank) and I are beekeepers ... but this isn't a how-to article on apiculture (there are plenty of books that do that job better than we could). We just want to share some of the joys of our particular lifestyle, so that other folks can benefit from what we've learned.

Why We Reitred and Became Beekeepers

My husband and I have kept a few hives ever since the early years of our marriage, and — if a bad heart ailment hadn't forced Hank into an unexpected retirement — that might have been the extent of our love affair with bees.

That illness, however, forced us to take a hard look at our options. Should I, we asked ourselves, keep the security of my job as a school bookkeeper ... or was this the time for us to take a chance and embark upon our long-dreamed-of adventure: fulltime beekeeping?

Somehow, good judgment won out ... and — a little over a year ago — we moved to this fertile farm country of cotton, soybeans, and excellent bee pastures. And it wasn't long before our buzzing colonies had increased to their present number of 100-plus.

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