By KATHRYN ACREE
You know someone is serious about beekeeping when they marry in a beekeeping suit. That is part of the colorful beekeeping story of local honey producer Jimmy Carmack.
Carmack and his wife of six years, LindaKaye, sell their wildflower honey at the Valleydale Farmers Market on Saturdays in the summer. You can also find their Pure Alabama Honey at Cowboy’s gas station near Lee Branch and Whole Foods on Highway 280.
Carmack’s fascination with bees began as a child. Later, as a young man working in the Birmingham area in the early 1970s, Carmack was mentored in the art of beekeeping by a coworker. “He took me to Sears downtown and at that time, you could order bees and beekeeping supplies right through their specialty catalogs,” said Carmack. “I was hooked.”
Although still self-employed full-time as a heavy equipment mechanic, beekeeping is a constant passion in his life. He met LindaKaye at a beekeeping convention, and the two married in 2005 in Reno in their beekeeping suits. “She carried a bee-quet,” Carmack said with a smile.
A resident of Centerpoint, Carmack has served as president of the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association and as president of the Alabama Beekeepers Association. He is a certified master beekeeper through the University of Georgia’s Honey Bee Program.
“People often don’t realize the benefit of bees and the role they play in agriculture,” Carmack said. “The pollination bees provide is essential to many of our state’s most valued crops.”
Pure Alabama Honey is available in five sizes: 8 ounces, 12 ounces, 16 ounces, 32 ounces, and 64 ounces, but individual retailers may not carry every size. “You’d be surprised at how big a seller our 64 ounces is,” Carmack said. “There are people that really go through a lot of honey.”
Look for Carmack and his glass case of buzzing bees when you’re visiting the Valleydale Farmers Market at Faith Presbyterian Church on Valleydale Road. You won’t “bee” disappointed.