Published December 1, 2011
OMEGA — Honey is not only delightfully sweet, but amazingly healthful.
Saint Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, once said, “The fruit of bees is desired by all, and is equally sweet to kings and beggars and it is not only pleasing, but profitable and healthful; it sweetens their mouths, cures their wounds, and conveys remedies to inward ulcers.”
Democritus, the philosopher and contemporary to Hippocrates, who according to certain historians lived to the ripe age of 109, exclaimed, “The secret of my health is applying honey inside and oil outside.”
Sharon Weeks Crosby, the owner of the Weeks Honey Farm in Omega (between Norman Park and Tifton), believes in the value of honey as both a food product and as a health giving substance.
Sharon and her son Ray, who serves as the vice president, operate the business founded by her parents Flaval G. and Margaret Weeks in the early 1960’s. Flaval Weeks wanted his family to be known by pleasant words and a God-honoring lifestyle and wanted his business to be based on biblical principles. He selected Proverbs 16:24 as the foundational Scripture verse for their honey farm. The inspiring proverb reads, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 16:24).
Sharon exclaimed, “We are still intent on maintaining the Christian legacy established by my parents, and after more than 50 years in business, we have had four generations active in the beekeeping profession.”
The Weeks Honey Farm started out with just two hives. Sharon commented, “My father and mother had a farm and raised lots of good vegetables. My mother would pick the peas and sell them to local citizens. She would also put honey from the two hives into a quart jar and place the honey beside the peas.
“The honey always sold better than the peas. She would sell all of the honey and people would come back for more, but she would generally have to feed the peas to the cows. Based on the demand for honey the decision was made to expand the honey business.
“When dad died in 1985 we had about 800 hives, but today we have about 4,800 hives in six counties and our little business sells about 18,000 bottles of honey a month.”
Ray Crosby estimated that it takes about 60,000 honey bees for each of their hives and that 360 million bees are needed to produce the amount of honey they sell each month.
One of the Weeks Honey Farm’s primary customers is Whole Foods Market with its southern distribution center in Braselton. From the distribution center their honey bottles are dispatched to 19 different stores. Weeks’ honey can also be found in the nutritional center of as many as 70 Kroger stores.
Sharon remarked, “We don’t filter or pasturize our honey. It is pure, raw honey. It doesn’t ruin and never goes bad. It may crystalize, but if you heat it up it will go right back to honey.”
The Weeks Honey Farm distributes seven kinds of honey: sage, buckwheat, gallberry, orange blossom, tupelo, wildflower and clover.
Ray lauded the value of honey as a promoter of good health. He explained, “Honey is free from any kind of bacteria and serves as an antibiotic. It promotes healing inside and out. It has served as a home remedy for centuries. Many doctors recommend honey for certain ailments, particularly upper respiratory infection symptoms, such as cough, because it can produce the same results as prescribed medicine and has no side effects. Buckwheat honey, in particular, can aid in digestion and is high in antioxidants.”
• Honey bees, scientifically known as Apis mellifera, are environmentally friendly and are vital as pollinators.
• Honey bees are the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
• Honey bees will visit between 50-100 flowers during one nectar collection trip.
• Two tablespoons of honey would fuel a honey bee flying once around the world.
• On average a worker bee will make 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
• The honey bee’s wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz.
• A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
• Bees must visit approximately 2 million flowers to make 1 lb. of honey.
• Bees must have to fly over 55,000 miles to make 1 lb. of honey.
• A queen is the largest bee in the hive. She can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day, twice her own body weight per day.
• Drones have no stinger. They do no real work. Their only purpose is to mate with virgin queens.
• Europeans brought the European Honeybee to America in 1683.
• Honey stored in airtight containers never spoils. Sealed honey vats found in King Tut’s tomb still contained edible honey, despite over 2,000 years beneath the sands.
• The land God promised the Israelites as their inheritance was known as a land flowing with “milk and honey.”
• Honey is sweeter than table sugar, is a healthier choice than artificial suger, contains no cholesterol, is fat-free and helps burn fats when we sleep.
• Eighty percent of the pollination of the fruits, vegetables and seed crops in the U.S. is accomplished by honeybees.
In fact, researchers at the University of Illinois have stated, “Honey contains low-to-moderate levels of disease-fighting antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds found in cells that ‘mop up’ free radicals, the damaging byproducts of normal metabolism. Experts believe diets high in certain antioxidants may help prevent illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.”
Apitherapy is the medicinal use of products made by honeybees. “Api” comes from the Latin word “apis” which means “bee,” so apitherapy is actually “bee therapy.” The products of the bee in addition to honey are bee venom, pollen, royal jelly, propolis and beeswax.
According to the American Apitherapy Society, some of the conditions treated with apitherapy are: multiple sclerosis, arthritis, wounds, pain, gout, shingles, burns, tendonitis and infections.
Furthermore, a lot of athletes will eat some honey before engaging in rigorous sports’ competition because it provides quick energy. Liz Applegate, the nutritionist for the Oakland Raiders, stated, “I always have my athletes consume honey before and during strenuous exercise.”
“Honey is composed of a unique carbohydrate composition of natural sugars and trace of amounts of antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids, making it a smart, natural, energy-filled afternoon snack,” says Mitzi Dulan who co-authored the book, “The All-Pro Diet” with Atlanta Falcon Tony Gonzalez. “In fact, for years, sports dietitians have recommended that athletes include pure honey in their pre-excerize meal or snack for that very reason.”
The honey business is not all sweetness and sunshine. Sometimes the beekeeper gets stung. Ray Crosby admitted to getting stung anywhere from 2 to 60 times a day. Fortunately, he is not significantly allergic to honey bee stings, but one out of every 100 people are highly allergic to them.
Sharon Weeks Crosby is a active member of Crosland Baptist Church in Crosland and both she and Ray are committed to use the business to honor Christ and support Christian ministries nearby and around the world.
Crosland pastor Jimmy Voyles stated, “Every pastor needs the type of people who run Weeks Honey Farm – warm, knowledgeable Christians whose mission is to help spread the Gospel as well as the honey that help them ‘pay the bills.’”
Evangelist Donnie Guy commented, “I have preached in 36 states now and meet a lot of people, but never in my life have I run across a more closely-knit and harder-working family. The Crosby family is truly dedicated to the Lord’s work and the work around the honey farm.
“Here is a family whose goal in life is to honor and glorify the Savior, which I believe is the reason God has blessed them and their honey business.”
Waldo Woodcock, former GBC pastor and denominational servant, has been a customer of the Weeks Honey Farm for almost 50 years. He commented, “We have known the ‘honey’ folks for many years, and I have seldom known anyone with a better work ethic than Sharon Weeks Crosby has. She stays focused on her task 24/7. “She is solidly rooted in the basics of family, church and community values, but has what I would call a Christian world-outlook which expresses itself in missions support and the outreach of her church and denomination. This is expressed also in the way she continues what her parents practiced, believing that their business is the Lord’s business and it should be a way of expressing their faith. For this reason they have chosen to place Scripture verses on their logo and business cards (They will also soon be adding Proverbs 16:24 – both reference and text – to their bottles of honey.).
“Sharon has a solidly-grounded faith which tragedy and loss through the years has not changed except to mature her faith in the Christ Who saved her and called her to His service at home and beyond,” he added.
Things are buzzing at Weeks Honey Farm, and it is encouraging to see a business that has the signature of God upon it.
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