Why I Farm: Betty Taylor

Me and bee gum

Persimmon Ridge Honey Farm

I farm because I like good food—pure food, real food. So I have a little “homestead” in Middle Tennessee on which I raise vegetables, eggs, and chicken for myself. It is also a small honey farm that brings in a little extra income. (I still have a real job.)

My honey is delicious and my bees are awesome. I don’t add any chemicals to their hives to manage mites or other diseases. I don’t feed them sugar or high fructose corn syrup to “stimulate” them. I say if you can’t feed yourselves or fight off the mites on your own, you’re too weak to survive and so be it. Result? Strong bees and good honey. My customers are very happy with my honey!

My honey business may provide extra income in my dotage, but I do it because I love it. When you are an old woman and wear two sets of clothes on a 90+ degree day to go out and lift heavy supers filled with honey, it has to be a labor of love. And it is, I never feel so connected to the universe and so happy as I do in the beeyard.


At a festival this weekend several people were waiting at the beekeepers’ society table to talk about getting a couple of hives for their backyards. Ten years ago when I said I wanted bees, I was assumed by everyone I knew to be crazy, so we must be moving in the right direction… people keeping bees for love and well-dressed biscuits might just save the honeybee. (And have a lot of fun doing it.)

Me too. Love my bees! And it is my job to keep some of those hives from being destroyed.

Kyle, I don’t have my own websiet, but you can find me at the Localharvest.org website. My farm is called the Persimmon Ridge Honey Farm. I think you can e-mail me directly from there. Thanks for your interest.

Beekeeping is somewhat of a dying art in our area. There was a time when it seemed like most crusty old farmers kept a few hives as a hobby. (as well as keeping lots of rusty old farm machinery and weather forecasting as a hobby) Now there very few small sized bee keeping operations. There are also fewer people who can give you advice on the weather. Come to thing of it, I haven’t see all that many crusty old farmers around lately either. Perhaps there is a connection.

I agree with Betty totally. I loved my bees and when I physically could no longer have them, a recently retired friend took over for me and now he and his son are having a ball with them. They go out and collect swarms and I get as much honey as I need for giving them the equipment. His wife isn’t speaking to me much, but I don’t think she’s tasted the honey or else she’d be sweeter!

Thanks for the great post! I hope for many more like it. I will not be posting officially because I don’t feel I can call myself a farmer yet. (See previous post.) But I’m glad to hear someone else reinforce some of the best reasons so eloquently! Thanks again.

Hey Betty, thanks for posting your story. I would be interested in trying your honey, would you mind posting a link to your site? Thanks!

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