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PlacerGROWN: Honey festival sure to tickle the taste buds

By: Karen Killebrew
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Placer County’s newest festival, the Placer County Honey Festival, will tickle your taste buds on Sunday, Sept. 19 at Ron Feist Park in Granite Bay. This new festival will educate festival goers about the importance of the honey bee as a pollinator, with displays of bee-friendly plants for farm or home garden and beekeeping supplies. One local family farm, Rickey Ranch of Granite Bay, has seen firsthand the importance of bees. Aaron and Stephanie Rickey experienced a dramatic decline in crop production since 2001. Last fall they happened to see an ad on Craigslist placed by a beekeeper looking for a place to store his bees. The Rickeys’ 165 acres, with 125 in grazing and the balance in orchards and vineyards, met the beekeeper’s needs for an ample, undisturbed area for the bees. The Rickeys’ goals were also met, free pollination of their crops and a share of the honey harvest at a discounted rate. Today there are over a hundred bee boxes on the Rickey’s property, where the bees are thriving. “Our crops are doing much better, too,” says Stephanie Rickey. “We’ve been able to sell the honey at our pumpkin patch, plus it has been very beneficial in relieving my husband’s allergies. Because the bees travel around collecting pollen from fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees, etc. from all around our area, the honey offers an immune booster to counteract allergies to the same substances. We’re looking forward to sharing what we’ve learned about honey bees at the Honey Festival.”  Honey tasting, a cornbread baking contest, a honey pancake breakfast, honey-themed food, a Honey Bee 3K/5K Walk Run, crafts and entertainment are among the fun-filled, family-friendly activities planned. Get a team together for the Honey Bear races, featuring model carts carrying individually themed honey bears. A race preview will be offered by PlacerGROWN at its booth at the Gold Country Fair, which continues through today. Race registration and cart-building kits will be available at the booth as well. The Placer County Honey Festival takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at Ron Feist Park, 9180 Twin Schools Road. The day kicks off with the Honey Pancake Breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by the run/walk. Booths open at 10 a.m. For a schedule of events and to register for the 3K/5K walk/run, Honey Bear Races and Cornbread Baking Contest, visit PCHoneyFestival.com and click on “Schedule of Events/Contests.” You may also contact festival organizer Jim Crosthwaite at (916) 768-9781 or e-mail jim_crosthwaite@yahoo. com. Vendor space is still available. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the public programs of PlacerGROWN, a nonprofit membership organization formed to assist local agricultural producers market their produce and agricultural products. Karen Killebrew is president of the PlacerGROWN board of directors. Contact Karen at karen@naturemedia.net.