On a recent jaunt over to the Bluffton Farmers Market, I turned the corner and ran smack into the sunflower-yellow awning staked by the folks from Lee Bees, Ron Weisburg and his wife and partner, Cynthia Lee Dekun. Just the apiarist(es) I was looking for!
On my last visit I ran out of time before I could talk bees and honey, so they were my first stop on this trip. Ron is actually the apiarist, i.e. beekeeper, taking care of his honey and wax-making kingdom whilst Cynthia creates a fantastic assortment of honey-infused skin products. Now, I am normally more fascinated by the yummy for the tummy honey (and they produce this in abundance) however, I was drawn to the far side of their space first by the herbal scents and skin-soft-as-butter allure of Cynthia’s soaps, creams and shampoos.
When it comes to most great ideas and/or plans, the simplest usually outweigh the complicated. This principle applies to most products and foods, as well. Who can argue that the combination of say, lemon and honey, in their purest forms, could result in something not wonderfully pleasing and good for you?
Cynthia offers a variety of shampoo “bars” which lather up when they are moist. The all
natural shampoos include lemon, lavender and basil for those with golden (or red!) hair to rosemary, lavender and basil for those with dark locks, and for those with oily manes, try the rosemary, lavender and rose geranium. She also makes a gentle lemon honey scrub, a variety of refreshing soaps, including natural insect repellent soap.
Now on to the tummy…of course Lee Bees also sells delicious honey and as Cynthia assisted customers (they were very busy by the way) Ron filled me in on their hives and what makes their honey special. First of all, the Lee Bees hives are all located near Hilton Head Lakes in greater Bluffton which makes them in close proximity to the historic and natural area known as the Great Swamp. While they cannot claim any designation such as “organic” for their honey, The Great Swamp is considered as holding nearly pristine water and is constantly monitored – it’s the barometer for local natural water testing. Lee Bees have access to all the biodiversity found there. I really like that I can purchase and enjoy a product which was nurtured and harvested from a renewable resource very close to my own home without affecting the environment in a negative fashion. It’s a win-win for all of us, I think!
To this affect I’ve included a simple recipe for figs (in-season locally NOW) stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with yummy honey. The nuts give a great crunch to the smooth cheese/fig combination. Go full-on Lowcountry (like me) and use pecans – but walnuts are delicious too!
Simple Stuffed Fresh Summer Figs with Honey
- Large fresh, ripe figs (at least 12)
- Fresh goat cheese (2 small containers)
- 1/3 cup toasted and finely chopped walnuts or pecans
- Warm honey (1/3 – ½ cup)
- Vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 425°. Wash and dry figs. Lightly oil a baking dish. In a small bowl mix the goat cheese and nuts. Quarter the figs, cutting three-quarters of the way down (but not all the way through). Stuff each fig with the cheese/nut mixture. Bake the figs in the oven 10 minutes. Remove and drizzle with the warmed honey.