Hemeseth honored as Iowa Honey Queen

Hemesath honored as Iowa Honey Queen

By Shalee Hanson
shanson@fayettepublishing.com

 

In northeast Iowa we know about the Beef Queen or Dairy Queen.  But Honey Queen isn’t a title that we are readily familiar with; however, the honor for the 2014 Iowa Honey Queen is housed right here in northeast Iowa.

On Friday night after an interview with a panel of the Iowa Honey Producers Association, a luncheon with IHPA members, and presenting a speech about her experience with bees, Belle Hemesath of Clermont, student at North Fayette Valley, was selected as the 2014 Iowa Honey Queen.

Hemesath started out working at Fassbinder Apiaries when she was in seventh grade.  Until she got her driver’s license, she orchestrated a carpool system through her mother, sister, and friends to get her to and from her job on the bee farm located outside of Elgin.

“My older sister worked there, so I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, and I wanted to work there, too,” Hemesath reflected on how she became a self-proclaimed bee nerd.

“[My sister] told me there was an opening, and I started working as a fill-in, but I ended up filling in every day.  By eighth grade I was a permanent worker.”

Through her work at Fassbinder’s, Hemesath learned to paint boxes, assemble frames, medicate bees, collect honey, extract honey and much more.  Throughout the school year Hemesath continues to work at the apiary on Saturdays.

The Fassbinder prodigy began researching the Honey Queen after her cousin told her about the Iowa Honey Program at the Iowa State Fair. Hemesath reached out to a previous Honey Queen as well as her boss, Bob Fassbinder, to mentor her on how she should approach the challenge.

When she decided to pursue the Honey Queen title her boss and IHPA member, Bob Fassbinder, told her she would learn more if she had her own bees.  He agreed to be her sponsor and gave her two hives of her own in exchange for the first year’s worth of honey.

As Iowa’s Honey Queen, Belle will work with a manager and travel around the state promoting honey and bees at various events.  She will also attend the Iowa State Fair to give six presentations, some for children and some for adults.  The new queen will also conduct three cooking demonstrations involving honey and demonstrate candle-rolling.

“I’m nervous about the traveling, because I am extremely directionally challenged,” Hemesath joked, “but I am very excited to meet all the people.”

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