Next year, I’m going to bring a photographer with me to the Made in Montana MARKETPLACE, not Fair, as I was recently corrected.  Fair is much more festive.  I’m sticking with Fair on this site.  At any rate, I would say that I left my booth for a grand total of seven minutes during the entirety of the Fair, which ran from 9-5 on Friday and 9-4 on Saturday.  So, despite the beauty of all the booths, and the fantastic people watching, I have very few pictures of the weekend, and even less that are any good.  Which is a real shame, because there are Montanans out there making truly fabulous products, and we should all be buying our birthday, wedding, baby, anniversary, and just-because gifts from these fine folks, and not from Target/Wal-Mart/Sears/K-Mart/Starbucks/Red Envelope/Macy’s/Neiman Marcus/Anthropologie/Crate & Barrel/William Sonoma/J.Crew/etc.  I’m sorry Anthropologie.  I love you, and I especially love how you’re helping to save the honeybee, but until you start carrying Made in Montana products, I’m going to have put myself on restriction from your offerings.

Happily for me, I will have one photograph to remember the Fair by (not to mention the hours of work I put into preparing for the Fair)  — the Great Falls Tribune dropped by my booth on Friday, and took this picture, which I absolutely love!  Thank you, Rion Sanders.

The Tribune included Glacier County Honey Co. in their slideshow from what they called the “Made in Montana Trade Show” – we are slide of #20 of 20, here.  See, I’m not the only one who has trouble with “Marketplace.”

Here is a picture of our booth, from above:

Don’t you know that I wish I had bothered to remove my tea from the table before snapping away.

This is a picture taken from the catwalk of the Civic Center, showing about 1/2 of the exhibitors at the Fair – nothing special about it, just trying to give y’all an idea of the Fair’s size – I believe there were between 100 and 125 exhibitors – for a state with a population of less than a million, I think that’s pretty good:

I talked and talked and talked and talked some more at the Fair.  Kind of felt like I was in sorority Rush once more, minus the singing.  I reached down into the most outgoing, extroverted part of my soul, swallowed my deep-rooted, Presbyterian-style disdain for self-promotion, and drew people in.  I demonstrated how fabulous our 1# bottle of honey is – it has a  flip top diaphragm seal that sucks the honey back in when you’re done squeezing, meaning no honey drips and a non-sticky kitchen – very cool.  I described how we extract honey and render wax.  I offered honey, bread, and compliments.  Shamelessly.  We talked about:

colony collapse disorder

how darling their shoes were

how much my feet hurt

the fact that a beeswax candle will purify the air around it, when burned, because it contains negative ions

almond pollination in California

proper wicking of candles

how a 100% beeswax candle with a 100% cotton wick and no additives has the same light spectrum as the sun, as opposed to a parrafin candle, which has the same light spectrum as an incandescent light bulb – disorganized, and much harder on your brain than the sun’s light spectrum

how darling their scarves were

how darling my bee necklaces were

what beeswax is, and how it takes 800,000 scales of it (produced from glands in a worker bee) to make one pound

the various nectar sources of Glacier County Honey: alfalfa, white sweet clover, and wildflowers, to name a few

how we ship our bees to California (on flat bed big rigs)

how beautiful my Christmas tree decorated with 100% beeswax ornaments was, and how delightful it was to see a tree without a single Made-in-China decoration on it

why a paraffin candle is not “green” – it is a petroleum byproduct, and when burned, emits a petrol soot – yuck

how honey is priced – it is a commodity, and the USDA grades it on its color, of which there are 7 grades, some of which are more desirable, and pricey, than others – that “Grade A” you see on honey labels is sheer puffery and I generally find it to mean that the honey is from a big distributor and is just a mix of many beekeepers’ honeys – double yuck

whether I think Congress thinks (I offered no comment there, beyond saying that Congress needs to get a chokehold on foreign honey coming into our country that’s got high fructose corn syrup mixed into it to make it go further – triple yuck)

whether I think honey might be good on vegetables (I know for a fact it’s great on carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkins, and kale)

whether I think bees think (I’ll have to think about that one)

how darling our booth was

how darling their babies were

how darling my husband is, and how happy I am to have married into a beekeeping family

It was beyond exhausting.  But very rewarding.  Although I’ve been here and there this winter, visiting Honeydew, friends, and family, most of my days since January have been spent in the silent cold of near-Babb, Montana.  My only constant companion, besides Bucky Dog, has been the wind’s voice, sometimes shrill, sometimes fierce, sometimes subtle, but never very friendly.  I found that I absolutely loved talking with my fellow Montanans, and gushing to them about Glacier County Honey.  I am so proud of our products – I truly believe you’ve never tasted honey this good, and I wish I could properly express my gratitude to our lovely ladies, the Glacier County Honey bees.  Guess I’ll just have to squeeze our #1 beekeeper, Honeydew, extra tight, instead.

Totally unrelated to the Made in Montana Fair’s Retail Day – Glacier County Honey Company is sponsoring a photo contest, with fabulous honey and beeswax products as prizes!  Click here for details.

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