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She'll be buzzing around the USA

Chambersburg woman named honey princess

Chambersburg woman named honey princess

January 31, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - For the next year, Rachel Bryson will have one of the sweetest jobs in the country - the 2008 American Honey Princess.

Earlier this month in Sacramento, Calif., the 22-year-old Chambersburg woman was crowned princess by the American Beekeeping Federation. The 2005 Franklin County Fair Queen, Bryson was named county Honey Queen in 2006 and Pennsylvania Honey Queen in 2007.

The Honey Queen title, Bryson said, went to Rachael Seida of Texas.

"I will be traveling across the country to fairs, festivals and farmers' markets," Bryson said of her duties. There will also be presentations at schools, for Scouting groups, cooking demonstrations and appearances at beekeeping events, she said.

Bryson's favorite recipe is a punch combining honey with cranberry, orange and lemon juices, ginger ale and a little water.

When approached by county beekeepers to represent their association two years ago, Bryson researched the subject and said, "I just became fascinated with the industry."

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She has one hive now and is planning to start two more this spring, Bryson said.

What is the most fascinating fact about honey?

"It would probably be that honey never spoils" because of its extremely high sugar content, said Bryson, a graduate of Shippensburg (Pa.) University. Archaeologists have found earthenware jars of dried honey within Egyptian tombs. Once heated, the contents liquefied and were edible, she said.

Most of the 50 to 75 beekeepers she estimates are in the county are hobbyists with two to five hives. What they produce is for mostly personal use or sold at farmers' markets, Bryson said.

There are about 200,000 beekeepers in the country with about 2.4 million hives, the vast majority hobbyists, said Anna Kettlewell, chairwoman of the American Honey Queen Program.

"Rachel is going to do a fabulous job for the industry. She's very poised, intelligent and articulate," Kettlewell said.

This has been a good year for Franklin County pageant winners. Katy Mitchell, the 2007 Franklin County Fair Queen, was recently named Pennsylvania Fair Queen.

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