By Loren Lindler
We can all agree rural Georgia is already pretty sweet, but when the Herrington Brothers throw some of their honey into the mix, rural Georgia instantly becomes a little sweeter.
From a young age, the boys were immersed in agriculture. Watching their Papa farm the land for most of their childhood and young adult life, the Herrington Brothers, Kory and Kasey, wanted to follow in their grandfather's footsteps. When Papa retired from farming, the brothers’ interest in agriculture did not fade. Instead, their dreams were to see the farm back in operation.
Once the brothers settled into their own homes back on the original farm with their families in Vienna, Georgia, the business ideas began flowing. The operation has considerably grown within a year, including a number of beehives, animals, crops, and two significant ladies that help keep the place running.
Kory and Kasey, along with Anna Marie and Cloey, together make up the Herrington Brothers. As a family, they strive to share the ins and outs of their hives, their harvests, and their growing herd.
Kory was born and raised in Vienna, Georgia, and that is where he plans to raise his family and continue the farming tradition. Kory attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) majoring in crop & soil sciences. He then went on to pursue his master's degree in plant pathology at the University of Georgia (UGA).
Currently, he is a sales representative for Gowan USA. He is able to use his degrees from ABAC and UGA in his role of promoting and educating about crop protection. In addition, Kory is one of the many faces of the Herrington clan. Planting, spraying, building - you name it, he’s a part of making the farm dreams into reality.
Kasey decided to start his college career at ABAC, however, he decided to transfer to UGA to finish his undergraduate studies with a bachelor's degree in agriscience and environmental systems. Kasey will graduate with his bachelor's this December, and continue on working toward a master's degree in plant protection and pest management that he will finish December 2021.
While attending college at UGA, Kasey also works for a scientist at UGA as a research assistant for corn, cotton, peanuts, and soybeans.
Kasey became a father to a little girl in 2018 who is his spitting image. Kasey adores spending time with her and teaching her the ins-and-outs to the farm. Where he goes, she goes.
Originally from Mathews, Alabama, Anna Marie grew up immersed in the cattle industry with her family. The desire to learn more and potentially pursue a career in agriculture led her to Georgia. Anna Marie graduated from ABAC in December of 2017 with a bachelor's of science in diversified agriculture. With that, she began her career with Cargill Protein in Atlanta, Georgia. Two short years later, she married her college sweetheart, Kory, and moved back to south Georgia. Anna Marie is now a retail account representative for Cargill Animal Nutrition.
Outside of her role with Cargill, she is involved in the day-to-day operations of both the farms in Alabama and Georgia. Anna Marie’s main goal is to continue sharing transparently and educating those not involved in the industry.
Born and raised in Plant City, Florida, aka the Strawberry Capital of the World, Cloey has called Georgia home for a while now. In 2010, she moved to Cordele, Georgia, to be closer to her family, and little did she know she would find the love of her life in the 8th-grade hallway, Kasey.
Cloey is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, all while participating in making their farm dreams come to life! She became a mama to Charlee Jean Herrington in 2018. While Charlee Jean took after her dad with her blonde hair and blue eyes, you can find her running around with Cloey.
From the Herrington Brothers Team
How did the Herrington Brothers get started and what all is currently involved in your operation?
We started with four hives of bees. Within one year, we have grown to 50. The bees allowed us the opportunity to pollinate for a blueberry farm as well as produce and package our own local “South Georgia” honey.
In June of 2020, we planted our first acre of pumpkins, which will be harvested this fall. We tend to a small backyard garden and enjoy adding to our herd of animals as the land allows. Right now, we have a small potbelly pig, Charlotte, as well as a herd of cattle.
Jax, Blondie, and Willow are our farm dogs, but we consider them family. We enjoy managing the deer on the property year-round as well. As the opportunities present themselves, we are excited about expanding our operations and look forward to what the future holds for Herrington Brothers.
Can you explain the process of making honey?
Producing honey is quite an art. Honeybees produce honey by collecting nectar from local floral sources. Sources of nectar can vary widely depending on location, as bees may fly up to several miles looking for nectar sources. As the bees collect nectar from these flowers, they store them within what can be referred to as their “honey gut.”
Once they are full of nectar, the honeybee will return to the hive. At this point, we still have what would be considered nectar rather than honey. The newly arrived nectar has a much higher moisture content than what we all know as honey. When the bees return, they will share the nectar with other bees in the hive through a process of regurgitation until all of the nectar has been deposited into the octagonal shaped
waxed - honeycomb.
Once deposited into the cells, bees within the hive will fan their wings over these cells encouraging the release of moisture from the nectar. As the moisture level drops down to around 18 percent, the process of “making honey” has nearly been completed. Once the moisture level of the “honey” has been dropped to a satisfactory level, worker bees will build a wax layer over the face of the cell containing honey, preventing moisture from reentering the honey, and allowing for long term storage. This is referred to as “capped honey”.
It has been said that is can take two million flower visits and 55,000 miles of honeybee flight in order for a colony to produce one pound of honey. In a good year, one honeybee colony can produce in excess of 50 or more pounds of honey.
During the spring/early summer, flower sources become less abundant and the “honey flow” will come to an end. The beekeeper will now go into their hives, remove all or most of the frames of capped honey in order to properly extract/sling the honey. Some honey will be left behind to provide a food source for the colony. These frames, free of bees, are then taken to a honey house where the honey will be removed from the honeycomb.
Honey is removed from the honeycomb by cutting away the wax capping over the cells containing honey. The honeycomb is then placed into a honey extractor. An extractor works by using centrifugal force to “sling” the honey from the comb. An extractor is a cylindrical-shaped tank that contains a tray on the inside that positions the frames/honeycomb in a manner that allows for the removal of the honey.
As a tray spins, the honey slings from the comb hitting the inside of the wall of the extractor. The honey begins to accumulate on this wall and slowly settles down to the bottom of the tank
where is it collected and run through a filter, which removes any undesirable materials but allows us to collect the beneficial aspects of the honey.
Once collected, the honey is packaged, labeled, and available for customers to enjoy!
If someone were looking to buy your honey, where could they purchase it?
While we do not have an e-commerce website yet, we can be contacted via Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, or by phone. We enjoy getting to know our customers and them getting to know us. We encourage people with social media to follow along so they have the opportunity to see exactly where their product comes from and each step it took to get it to them.
Do you have any tips and tricks for someone else that may be interested in the honey industry?
Have a plan
Reach out to others who are involved in your similar interest
Say "YES" more often than "no"
What is your favorite way to enjoy honey?
The Herrington Brothers want to provide education and a crop to all who are interested, especially those in rural Georgia. Nothing is much sweeter than Georgia honey anyway, is it?
As their operation and family has grown, they have definitely worked hard to make rural Georgia a little sweeter.
Be sure to check them out on social media so you can keep up with what's happening on the farm!