Meet Laura Kimball from TruBee Honey, a local beekeeping and honey producer.
TNM: Who are the bees behind the honey?
TB: My husband, Jeff and I, along with our 14-year-old daughter Lilly own and operate TruBee Honey. We live in Arrington, and recently moved most of our honeybee “operation” to Eagleville because we needed more space. Jeff and I have been keeping bees for about 13 years now, and TruBee has existed about six years.
TNM: How did Trubee Honey begin? What’s your story?
TB: Jeff and I were both in print journalism for years. (It’s how we met!) He is a photographer, and I was a reporter, then editor. I did a feature story on an elderly beekeeper, told Jeff about it, then found out that he had always been interested in honeybees, ever since he was a little boy. I surprised him that Christmas with a hive and some equipment, then he got bees later that spring from the man in my story. We started with two hives, and now we have two or three hundred!
We sold our honey and beeswax products at farmers markets for years, including the Franklin Farmer’s Market, but now we mostly sell to independent shops and grocery stores, as well as online.
I think part of what led us to doing this as a business is our desire for a simple lifestyle. Now, as you know, there is nothing simple about running your own business, but we’ve chosen a vocation and a way of life that involves a deep involvement in nature and observation of natural rhythms. The way a hive operates, the order and discipline of it, is fascinating and never ceases to amaze us.
TNM: What are the advantages of using local honey?
TB: I think there are so many! Of course, most folks that come to us looking for local honey are interested in ingesting local pollens because of allergies, hoping it will help their body develop a gradual immunity to what’s making them sneeze. We have customers that swear by this remedy, though it does take time, and most folks just figure it can’t hurt! I also think baking with honey is a good way to cut back on white sugar, and we do a lot of grilling with some honey-infused marinades
TNM: What types of honey and products do you carry?
TB: We have several varieties of raw honey, from our regular seasonal varieties to our Barrel-Aged Honey and our whipped Tennessee Snow honey. We have two organic beeswax products, which are my recipes, our beeswax lip balm and our Beeswax Rub, which is a dense salve for dry skin spots, cuticles, etc. (We even have folks using it for taking care of new tattoos!)
TNM: Where can readers find your products?
TB: Our website is www.trubeehoney.com
TNM: Where’s your favorite place around Nashville to go when you’re not busy with your bees?
TB: We have two favorite places/events, Arrington Vineyards and Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman.
The vineyard is only a mile and a half from our house, so it’s an easy spot for us to meet friends and take family when they’re visiting from out of town. I love that it’s a family atmosphere, there is live music (jazz and bluegrass), and that they encourage visitors to bring picnics. It makes it easy and affordable for families to have a relaxing evening outside.
Also, we get season tickets each year to the six-week Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series because we love bluegrass music, and it’s also a really affordable way to do something fun with family. If you get tickets for the whole season, which is usually six consecutive Thursdays during the summer, you sit in the same spot each week, so it’s just like church, and you get to know the folks sitting around you, like it or not!
TNM: You’re hosting an open house this week, can you give us the details?
TB: If anyone wants to make a little day trip, from 10-2:30 on Saturday, May 4 we are hosting an open house at our new Eagleville location! We are located at 4818 Hwy 41-A North, Eagleville 37060. We will be doing a beekeeping demonstration at quarter after the hour each hour (so, four demos), and folks are welcome to do a free honey tasting and shop in our little bee-themed farm store. I’ll also do a blog post about things to do in Eagleville while you’re in that neck of the woods, including checking out a new home goods shop called All Things Home.