Thursday’s Downtown Farmer’s Market saw the debut of a product that was high in demand and short in supply: Liberty County Courthouse Honey.
Hinesville resident and market customer Rose Lowe was among the 15 patrons lined up before 4 o’clock to snag some of the sweet treat, which offers the community an odd chance to share in something truly local, she said.
“It’s from here, and it’s from a building here that everyone has been to,” she said.
Lowe said she appreciated that Myers decided to sell the honey at the market, giving all residents a chance to try it, rather than keeping it or sharing it with area leaders.
Customers paid $4 for a half-pint, $7 for a pint, and $8 for a pint with honeycomb, and Myers had 24 jars of each, he said.
In the first five minutes, he sold four pints, four half-pints and five jars with comb.
Another customer, Charmett Reed, said she came especially early to get her chance at the product, which she considers to be an item of Hinesville memorabilia.
“I don’t think anybody is going to eat it,” she said. “We are all going to have courthouse honey sitting on our tables.”
Reed made two honey purchases at the farmer’s market, she said. The one from Myers would likely be a keepsake, but she purchased a pound and a half jar from J.M. and Freida Sikes, Richmond Hill vendors who offer free samples of their honey.
“That one is for me to eat,” she laughed.
At 5 p.m., Myers presented jars of the honey to Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas and Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver after an introduction from Vicki Davis, director of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority.
“It’s a good day as we launch and celebrate a new product that we have, a new special item,” Davis said. She gave a brief history of the honey, explaining that the courthouse construction superintendent met Myers at the market and asked him to remove the bees.
“I like to call it a ‘taste of Liberty,’” she said. “It is a taste of your downtown area, whatever plants bloom here throughout the area.”
Bees can travel up to a mile to collect nectar, so it’s almost impossible to list all of the flavors that are in the honey, Myers said before the presentation.
Next, Myers presented the honey to Thomas.
“On behalf of the city of Hinesville, I accept this,” Thomas joked. “But this is not going to Hinesville, this is coming to me … I truly enjoy it, and thank you so much.”
McIver also spoke and thanked Myers for volunteering his work.
“(Clerk of Courts) Barry Wilkes didn’t know that we had a sweet courthouse that he just left,” he said. “Tomorrow, I’m going to have to put this on my shelf … and enjoy it with my grandkids later on.”
Myers worked for about 16 hours to harvest the honey, which came from a hive of roughly 55,000 bees.
“I worked on it for a week, but I had to get some of it ready to strain and had to get it squeezed out,” he said. “I got tired of squeezing and I went and got my wife’s potato masher and mashed it down in a five gallon bucket.”
Though Myers anticipated the comb contained about 10 gallons, the hive yielded about seven and a half gallons, he said.
It sold out by 5:45, when Assistant County Administrator Bob Sprinkel bought the remaining jars for the county commissioners. Once he sold out, Myers warned customers that the remaining jars were not the novel item they were likely seeking.
For Myers, the opportunity to be involved with the community and draw interest to the farmer’s market was sweet.
But his favorite part about honey? “Eating it,” he laughed.
“I love the process of working with the honeybees because they are fascinating,” Myers added. “It’s a different world, 99 percent of people do not understand what goes on in a beehive. It’s a world of its own.”