What’s the buzz?

Fayetteville resident and 2012 Coweta Beekeeper of the Year Jerry Edwards (L) is congratulated by Steven Page, the 2011 honoree. Edwards has worked with groups in groups in Coweta, Fayette and surrounding counties. Photo/Special.

Fayetteville man named Coweta Beekeeper of the Year

A Fayetteville man has been named the 2012 Coweta Beekeeper of the Year by the Coweta Beekeepers Association. Jerry Edwards began beekeeping as Castle Rock Honey over seven years ago at his home in Fayetteville and now has multiple hives in both Georgia and West Virginia.

Edwards received the honor on Dec. 6 at the association’s annual Christmas party in Newnan, according to 2011 Beekeeper of the Year Steven Page. Edwards is the retiring president of the association and is the newly elected president of Georgia Beekeepers, Page added.

Page said Edwards’ venture into beekeeping began when he became concerned that the tomato plants on his deck produced blossoms but no fruit. After extensive research regarding the honey bee and beekeeping, he bought two hives, said Page.

“Beekeeping as both a vocation and a profession can be a solitary venture or one that is people filled, and Jerry enjoys both aspects,” Page said. “Depending on the situation he can be found working with his bees, reading about innovations in the industry, mentoring new beekeepers, educating young and older students, presenting to various civic groups in the region and just talking about bees to any willing ear that he can find.”

Describing Edwards’ affinity for beekeeping, Page said it was early in Edwards’ career when he realized that he could give only a certain amount of honey to friends, so he decided to extend his interest and become an entrepreneur.

“He has a honey kitchen in Griffin, where he processes honey and honey products that are sold in local outdoor markets and stores and at events throughout the Southeast,” Page said. “A perfect life for a man who enjoys people and traveling, it has become a family affair and his wife ‘blings’ honey spoons, pickle forks, and other serving pieces that are sold along with the honey.”

Edwards is of the few beekeepers in Georgia who is a certified Welsh honey judge, Page said, adding that Edwards works as a judge at shows throughout the state.

“Keeping updated with issues affecting beekeeping is a constant in his life,” Page explained. “For example, this summer he attended the Eastern Apiary Conference in Vermont where he attended lectures dealing with a wide variety of honey bee topics. His ‘bee-life’ is extended by his involvement in teaching beekeeping short courses for organizations in Henry, Clayton, and Coweta counties. Presently, he is President of Georgia Beekeepers, a member of the Coweta Board of Directors and has previously served as President of Coweta Beekeepers Board of Directors and Vice-President of Tara Beekeepers in Forest Park.”

Page also noted what might be Edwards’ most important accomplishment supporting his beekeeping passion occurred this year.

“He organized and worked tirelessly with an ad hoc group in Fayette County as they met with the Fayette County Planning and Zoning Commissioners for seven months regarding issues relating to beekeeping in residential areas,” said Page. “Many hours were spent reviewing procedures and educating the officials regarding the importance of bees and the major role they play maintaining the balance of life for all nature.

As a result of the ongoing negotiations Fayette County is one of the few government agencies in the nation that has an ordinance that specifically defines the parameters of beekeeping in the county.”

The Coweta Beekeepers meets monthly and will offer an Introduction to Beekeeping class on January 26, 2013. For more information visit www.cowetabeekeepers.org