Beekeepers Rick and Nelda Campbell are continually learning new tricks of the trade and enjoy sharing their passion for bees with others.
“We’ve made so many new friends and I love meeting new people at all the festivals,” Mrs. Campbell said. The Charleston couple is looking forward to offering their raw honey and homemade all-natural beeswax products from “Bee My Honey Apiary” at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Fall Market on Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19 in the Lumpkin Family Center for Health Education. Proceeds from the event benefit the Lifeline grant assistance program.
The Campbell’s have been in the beekeeping business since 2012, when they inherited two dilapidated bee hives from a neighbor that was moving. “My husband was fascinated with bees, so he was anxious to try his hand at beekeeping as a hobby,” Mrs. Campbell said.
After fixing up the hives he inherited and building several new ones, the couple was extracting more honey than they knew what to do with so they formed a small business and started selling raw honey at local farmer markets and festivals. A couple years later, Mrs. Campbell added her own line of homemade natural beeswax products to the business, including lip balm, cuticle cream, lotion sticks, pet paws soothing cream and more. “The possibilities are endless,” she said. “I just try new things every year. I retire some products and then I add something new.”
However, Mrs. Campbell explains that beekeeping isn’t as simple as just owning bee hives. “It takes a lot more time than you would think because you have to do regular hive inspections to make sure they are free from disease and pests. You also have to make sure the bees have enough food,” she said. In addition, the couple adds boxes, called supers, to the hives as needed as they fill up with honey. “There’s so much to learn and we still don’t know everything, because every year is different. Bees respond to the weather and it’s always changing,” Mrs. Campbell said. Getting stung is an inevitable part of the job too. “It’s not fun, but it goes along with the rewards of keeping bees,” she said.
One year, the Campbell’s extracted 2,000 pounds of honey from 30 hives they had at various locations in Charleston and Ashmore. Today, they have about 25 hives and they extract honey twice a year in July and September. As members of the Crossroads Beekeepers group in Effingham, they are constantly learning from fellow beekeepers at meetings each month. The couple also provides several educational events for children and they attend numerous festivals each year. In addition, their honey is available at the Mattoon and Charleston Rural King store.
For the past five years, the Campbell’s have graciously donated 10 percent of their sales from the SBL Fall Market to the Lifeline grant assistance program. “It’s a great program and an easy way to give back,” said Mrs. Campbell, who also works as a nurse for Mars Petcare in Mattoon and formerly at Sarah Bush Lincoln.
The Sarah Bush Lincoln Volunteer Guild’s Fall Market offers opportunities to shop for one-of-a-kind items, as well as national chain home-party items for the house and garden. Fall Market is set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, October 18, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, in the Lumpkin Family Center for Health Education. Convenient parking is available in the north parking lot. Admission is free.
Some of the handmade items include: jewelry, pottery, candles, quilts, clothing, and honey products. From the home-party line, shoppers will find cosmetics, jewelry, body wraps, antibacterial cleaning items, home décor items, food storage, and much more.
Raffle tickets are also being sold for a Shawnee Wine Trail Getaway Package, which includes a two-night stay at the beautiful Blue Sky Vineyard in Makanda (“the romance of Italy in the Hills of Southern Illinois”); $150 in wine bucks that can be used to purchase wine, meals or additional lodging along the trail, and more. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10 and can be purchased through the SBL Volunteer Services office at 217 258-2500. The drawing will be held on Saturday, October 19, but you need not be present to win.
This year’s sponsors include corporate sponsors: Rural King and Sarah Bush Lincoln Women’s Healthcare; and title sponsors: Cromwell Radio Group, Inc.; Paap Auto Body, Peterson Health Care and Washington Savings Bank.
The complete list of vendors is as follows:
Bee My Honey,
Boroughs and Johnson Jewelry,
Carol Doll Clothes & Bibs,
EKKO Jewelry Designs,
Gold Canyon Candles,
Hands of Hope,
Henry & Shorty,
Jon Schubert Pencil Portrait Artist,
Kolors 4 Kyndal / Color Street,
Lime Life by Alcone,
Mary Kay Cosmetics,
Matilda Jane Clothing,
Plunder Design Jewelry,
Rodan + Fields,
Sew Bee It,
Stella & Dot,
The Nutman Company,
The Pampered Chef,
Thomas Gray Creations,
Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski,
Usborne Books & More,
Vintage Cottage Beauty,
Yellow Brick Candle Shoppe and
Volunteer Services supervisor Tracy Haddock said, “We’re really excited about the quality of vendors we have at this year’s Fall Market. I think community members will be pleased with what they see. What’s even better is that all proceeds support Lifeline grant assistance.”
The Guild provides grant assistance to individuals who would not otherwise be able to have Lifeline in their homes. Lifeline is dedicated to provide personal response service, peace of mind, and early intervention to individuals whose health is at risk in East Central Illinois and assist them to remain safe and independent with dignity in their own homes. Each year the SBL Volunteer Guild donates $15,000 for Lifeline grant assistance.
For more information, contact the SBL Volunteer Guild at 217 258-2500.