Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association

Going Strong Since 1904

PA Honey Queen Report (December 2013)
  by Rachael Bryson - Honey Queen Program Chair

Hello all,

The new year has already been filled with many exciting moments for the Honey Queen program. To start, our 2013 Queen Elena Hoffman was selected as the 2014 American Honey Princess during the American Beekeeping Federation Convention in Baton Rouge, La. Elena will be joined this year in her travels across North American by Susannah Austin of Florida, who is the 2014 American Honey Queen.

A total of four contestants participated in the four day competition. Joining Elena and Susannah were contestants from Texas and Iowa. All of these young women did an excellent job representing their states. You can follow Elena's travels this year by liking the American Honey Queen Program Facebook page.

 Queen Elena and other commodity representatives gather for a group photo before the Opening Ceremonies at the PA Farm Show.

 Queen Elena presents the PSBA gift to George Greig, PA Secretary of Agriculture.

 Queen Elena meets with PA Gov. Tom Corbett and his wife during the Farm Show.

 Queen Elena teaching some children about the bees in the observation hive at the PSBA Farm Show learning center.

 Queen Elena speaks with a couple who stopped by the learning center.

 Queen Elena helping customers at the PSBA Ice Cream stand at the PA Farm Show.

Before heading to Baton Rouge, Elena represented the PSBA at the PA Farm Show. She assisted with preparing the honey displays before the show opened to the public, attended the Governor's reception and opening ceremonies, and working in our ever popular ice cream stand and learning center.

Our 2013 Princess, Jessica Aurand, also attend the Farm Show and worked in the learning center and ice cream stand. Photos from the Farm Show and ABF convention can be found on the PA Honey Queen Program Facebook page. For those of you who were not able to attend the convention, I wanted to share Elena's total promotion numbers again (these figures do not include the Farm Show or ABF convention).

  • Attended 23 events
  • Visited 18 counties
  • Traveled 4,044 miles
  • Reached 2,034,560 people
  • Total value of promotions - $149,882

Congratulations to Elena and thank you to both Elena and Jessica for the outstanding work this year. In other news, as some of you may know we did not crown a 2014 Honey Queen during the convention. However, the committee is still working diligently to find a candidate to serve as our 2014 Queen, so keep checking our Facebook page for updates on this search.

This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Honey Queen Program. We are planning some special reunion activities at some of our events in celebration. If your group would be interested in hosting one of these reunions, please let me know. While it is still uncertain if we will have a 2014 Honey Queen, I encourage you to continue contacting me with event requests. Thank you all for your continued support of the Honey Queen Program.

PA Honey Queen Report (November 2013)
  by Elena Hoffman - 2013 PA Honey Queen

As the time comes when the leaves are almost completely off the trees and winter is quickly approaching, if not already here, I want to wish you all a happy and festive Thanksgiving! This month was wonderful with PSBA s annual convention where I was able to see many friendly faces!

On the 8th of November I arrived back in Lewisburg just in time for the convention! I was able to walk around and greet many members who attended the convention and sell raffle tickets to raise money for the Honey Queen Program. Then, I changed into more formal attire and headed towards our lovely banquet! While there we ate plenty of delicious food, applauded the well-deserved recipients of awards, and also heard some speakers talk about how wonderful EAS was, which had been in Pennsylvania this year!

Next, I gave my marketing presentation on urban beekeeping in preparation for ABF and played some beekeeping jeopardy with past honey queens in honor of next year marking the 60th anniversary of the Honey Queen Program! Finally, Princess Jessica and I helped to show off some amazing raffle items to raise money for the program and gave our farewells. It was an amazing night spent with some magnificent people!

The next day, Saturday the 9th, both Princess Jessica and I watched some of the wonderful presentations that PSBA s members had to offer. During the breaks we spoke with many members and welcomed those who we had not seen the previous day. Afterwards, we helped to pass out the honey awards to members and attended the business meeting. When the business for the day was settled we were able to have a little bite of something sweet when Jessica and I helped to cut the cake honoring the fast coming arrival of the Honey Queen Program s 60th anniversary. It was a lovely celebration. Finally, to end the day Jessica and I gave a cooking demonstration including a honey yogurt parfait and a honey tropical fruit punch. Overall, it was a successful weekend for PSBA and we hope to see you in attendance next year!

The last thing I did for the month of November was give a persuasive speech at West Chester University on why honeybees are important to our society. The presentation was given to about 30 students and included talking about the misconception that honeybees are mean and nasty insects and teaching about why they are really one of the mellowest insects with stinging capacities. After touching on that topic I continued to persuade about how honeybees are important for pollination and through pollination important for our food supply. The last thing I mentioned was the money that the agricultural and pollination industry make and contribute to our countries revenues each year thanks to honey bees. Looking back, I would say that my fellow students really took something away from the presentation and that it was a great success for the industry.

Although my time as your 2013 Honey Queen is dwindling down, there is still enough time to invite me to your event! To invite me or Princess Jessica to an event, contact Rachel Bryson, queen program chair, at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (August 2013)
  by Elena Hoffman - 2013 PA Honey Queen

Hello fellow beekeepers! It was great seeing a bunch of you at the PSBA summer picnic in Philadelphia! I hope you re all in good health and that your bees are as well! This month I ve been a busy bee and have attended 8 wonderful promotions!

Farm Fest Craft

The first event I attended on the 2nd and 3rd of August was the Pennsylvania Organic Farm Fest. This promotion was held at the Grange Fair Grounds in Centre Hall and was a blast! There were plenty of vendors to talk to about beekeeping and why honey bees are so important for the agricultural industry. There were also many kids who loved getting a bee hand stamp if they could give me a fact about honeybees! It was a great promotion.

Next, I traveled down the street to my own county fair on the 5th, the Union County West End Fair. It was great to teach not only new faces about the importance of honeybees and pollination, but it was also awesome to teach my friends and community as well! During my time there I taught many people, handed out tons of I love honey stickers, and was given the chance to speak to one of our state representatives, Fred Keller.

Cooking Demo at EAS

After being in my home town, I headed toward West Chester from the 6th to the 9th for the Eastern Apicultural Society s conference held at West Chester University. It was a magnificent week! Princess Jessica and I went to so many fantastic educational lectures such as honey processing, usurpation, honeybee communication, and much more! When we weren t in classes we were mingling with many beginner and advanced beekeepers from all over the United States, while also selling lots of raffle tickets. Then, American Honey Princess, Emily Campbell, joined us and we gave classes on cooking with honey, helped with Kids & Bees, and helped EAS raffle their items at their banquet. It was a successful week for the beekeeping industry! Next year you can join EAS as it travels to Kentucky!

Immediately following the EAS conference, we attended the PSBA summer picnic held at Morris Arboretum. It was wonderful to catch up with PSBA members and speak about my travels as Honey Queen. During the picnic, Emily, Jessica, and I helped with the smoker lighting contest, and we each spoke about our work for the beekeeping industry.

Elena and Jessica - Ag Progress Days

From West Chester, Princess Jessica and I drove to State College for Ag Progress Days from the 13th through the 15th. On the 14th we attended the Ag Progress Days Luncheon where we were able to talk to the Secretary of Ag, George Greig, and also talk to many of our state representatives. We spent our time at Ag Progress not only scooping honey ice cream and selling honey root beer, but also eating some ourselves! We had a great time working hard to help raise money for the Honey Queen Program!

On the 16th I then traveled to Newville for the Cumberland County Ag Expo. While there I was able to talk to many individuals about honey bees, and had the privilege of being a judge for the Cumberland County Ag Expo Little Miss contest. Before the contest began I was given time to speak to the audience about my year so far, the Honey Queen Program, and a little bit about honeybees. It was a wonderful promotion.

From Newville, I got the splendid invitation to spend time with the Lehigh Valley Beekeepers Association who hosted National Honeybee Day, August 17th, in Emmaus! Together we had an awesome day using the observation hive as a tool to not only teach children, but also parents about honeybees. The observation hive is always available at the Wildlands Conservancy in Emmaus! During that time, some of the event volunteers gave extracting demonstrations. I gave a cooking demonstration with honey butter and honey raspberry lemonade. After that, we spent plenty of time teaching even more about honeybees and pollination and showing attendees live hives on the Conservancy. It was an awesome National Honeybee Day and a great success for the industry!

Andy Alm Interview

Finally, the last event I attended for the month was the Crawford County Fair in Meadville on the 19th. While there, I was able to spend plenty of time with Charlie and Cathy Vorisek at their honeybee booth. We not only were teaching kids at the observation hive, but also letting everyone taste different kinds of honey and explain to them how you can have so many different flavors of honey. While there, when I wasn t in the Vorisek s booth, Cathy had me out and about talking to many radio stations. I was able to talk to The Stream from Titusville for a radio and television interview, Froggy 100.3, Froggy 98.5, Majic 99.3, Majic 104. 5, Wuzz 94, Wuzz 107, Andy Alm who is the news director for Forever Broadcasting for a morning segment, and Cool 101.7. It was an amazing time teaching about honeybees and a huge success for the beekeeping industry and the Honey Queen Program thanks to Charlie and Cathy s support.

Overall August was a busy but amazing month! After I finished all these events I spent my last weekend in August moving into college at West Chester University. If you re bummed that you haven t had time to schedule an event with Princess Jessica or I, don t be! You still have a few months left to organize our attendance to your event! To invite me or Princess Jessica to an event, contact Rachel Bryson, queen program chair, at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (July 2013)
  by Elena Hoffman - 2013 PA Honey Queen

Hello everyone! With the heat wave that we had this month I hope all of you stayed hydrated and healthy! Along with making a fantastic scrapbook for you to see at the summer picnic I travelled to three promotions already this month and still have another one to go to!

Queen Elena at the Ligonier Country Market

The first wonderful promotion I attended was the Ligonier Country Market. I spent the day handing out brochures, honey sticks, and stickers. Also, I was able to answer many questions about the observation hive that was with me and show the public where the queen bee was located. While there, I helped to promote not only PSBA but also the local honey that was being sold at the market by at least two different vendors.

Queen Elena at the Collinsville Community Library

The next event I attended was held at Collinsville Community Library. I was able to present to a group of about 20 people on the role of the beekeeper, the basics of the hive, and why honeybees are so important for pollination. Three of the libraries employees had even become beekeepers recently and had some questions for me! After the presentation, I had the kids who attended paint rocks into their own personal honeybees. It was an amazing experience and a successful promotion for the beekeeping industry.

Towards the end of the month I made my way to the Hollidaysburg Area Public Library to present to a group of about 50 children. The children loved the great close up pictures of the three different bees in the hive. At least three of the children tried on the bee suit and all of the children passed around the smoker to see how it worked. At the end of the presentation the parents all got brochures with PSBA s information and asked questions about what PSBA could offer them. Finally, everyone got some clover honey sticks to enjoy.

So far July has been an excellent month of promotions for the industry and PSBA! Coming up, August is packed full of new promotions! Don t miss out on a great opportunity to have Princess Jessica or I attend your event! To invite me or Princess Jessica to an event, contact Rachel Bryson, queen program chair, at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (June 2013)
  by Elena Hoffman - 2013 PA Honey Queen

Greetings PSBA members! As we all make our way to the halfway point of the year, I hope you are all doing well! My year as Honey Queen so far has been going fantastic and has been filled with PSBA promotions. This month I went to three different places to promote honeybees and the beekeeping industry.

The first promotion I attended on June 10th was a school presentation at Lincolnway Elementary in York. The students had just finished a whole section of class dedicated to honeybees and pollination. The students could answer so many of my questions about the different types of bees and the hive in general! They all did a great job in participating in my presentation! Afterwards, I gave each of the children honey sticks and allowed them to turn a rock into their own honeybee using paint! Finally, after cleaning up all the paint, the children asked question upon question about honeybees! It was a wonderful experience and I would certainly return to Lincolnway!

West End Senior Center

Penns Creek Retirement Home

The next two promotions I attended were on June 27th and 28th in Laurelton and Penns Creek. In Laurelton I visited the West End Senior Center and in Penns Creek the Penns Creek Retirement Home. It was a pleasant surprise to have a few promotions so close to home! I spent the morning, both Thursday and Friday, teaching the groups some basics on honey and tips for cooking with honey, while giving a cooking demonstration. I pre-made honey chocolate frosted cookies (the recipe can be found on and blended some delicious Honey Raspberry Lemonade at the demonstrations (the recipe is in my recipe brochure). During the demonstrations I talked about the complex makeup of honey, such as how it contains naturally flavored sugars as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. I also spoke on how honey is made in the hive and the versatility of honey in cooking. I told the residents that honey can be used as a sweetener, humectant, emulsifier, and to add flavor or enhance flavor in a dish. I had a wonderful time and am thrilled at how well the promotions went!

With July and August looking really busy don t miss your chance to schedule a summer promotion with us! If you re reading this and thinking Well, I don t have a summer event but I have one for the fall, schedule with Rachel now! It never hurts to get a head start and fall promotions are already being scheduled! Don t miss out on a great opportunity to have Princess Jessica or I attend your event! To invite me or Princess Jessica to an event, contact Rachel Bryson, queen program chair, at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (April 2013)
  by Elena Hoffman - 2013 PA Honey Queen

Happy Earth day everyone, or rather, happy Earth month. There was no better way to spend time than to travel throughout Pennsylvania talking and teaching about how important honeybees are to the planet! In April, I went to two wonderful events!

Philly Food and Farm Festival

April started off with a huge event in Philadelphia called the Philadelphia Farm and Food Festival. There was a great turn out at the event and I d estimate around 3,000 people were in attendance. It was great to spend time not only manning my booth but also being able to spend time with members of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild. At my booth, I received many great questions about bees and how someone could become a beekeeper. I handed out many brochures to people also interested in becoming a member of PSBA to help them on their way to becoming beekeepers. I also was given the chance to speak briefly on PSBA and the Honey Queen Program at one of the Guild member's Beekeeping 101 presentations. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend attending the festival next year if you're in the area!

Queen Elena helping kids at Eco Fest

Queen Elena and the kids at Eco Fest

My last event of the month was spent in Shillington Pennsylvania at Eco-Fest. There truly was no better way to spend the weekend before Earth Day than educating students, their parents, and even some teachers on the importance of honeybees and pollination. I had a marvelous day exchanging my stamp on their Eco-Fest cards (this allowed them to move to the second floor of the school for other Earth-friendly games!) and I Love Honey stickers for them creating their own bee and telling me one fact they knew about honeybees. Many of the children and parents had plenty of questions and left my booth amazed at some of the information they learned. Even the principal kept returning to my booth to listen in on what new topic I was teaching about honeybees. It was a great day of promoting the industry, PSBA, the Honey Queen Program, and of teaching about honeybees!

My year as Pennsylvania Honey Queen is flying by quickly. As summer is approaching I encourage you to invite me to your fair or festival! Don t miss out on the chance to have the Honey Queen or Princess at your event! To invite me or Princess Jessica to an event, contact Rachel Bryson, queen program chair, at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (March 2013)
  by Elena Hoffman - 2013 PA Honey Queen

Queen Elena with one of the homeschool students after her presentation

Greetings everyone! I hope all of you had a great Easter and enjoyed some time with your family. March was not an extremely busy month for the program but I did manage to head to Manheim to speak with a group of students.

Queen Elena talking about the drone

During the month, I spoke with a group of homeschooled students and their parents on the basics of the hive and beekeeping. Before my presentation began, the parents were extremely interested in beekeeping and asked if they and their children could become beekeepers as well. My answer, of course, was yes! Then I started my presentation for about 15 students who were very enthusiastic for learning. Some of the students had even been to the ABF convention in January. Almost every child tried on the bee suit and passed around the mock hive and smoker. After the build-a-bee craft, we finished up the presentation by eating muffins drizzled with honey! I loved the time spent teaching these children and talking to their parents about PSBA and how they can become involved in the beekeeping industry. I look forward to many more promotions this year!

This month the Honey Queen Program brochures were also completed! Pick up a brochure for many delicious recipes to enjoy and honey facts! Our schedule is filling up quickly; don t miss out on the chance to have the Honey Queen or Princess at your event! To invite me or Princess Jessica to an event, contact Rachel Bryson, queen program chair, at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (February 2013)
  by Elena Hoffman - 2013 PA Honey Queen

Hello everyone! Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this year! Hopefully, according to legend, Phil is right and we will have an early spring so that our bees can begin foraging! Regardless of what Phil has to say, I ve already been busy in February promoting PSBA and the beekeeping industry, even with the chilly weather.

February began with Cornucopia at the state capital building in Harrisburg on the 5th. This is an event where all or most of our state representatives and legislators are in attendance, and is a great time to promote the industry and honeybee research to lawmakers. Having never been to the state capital building before, it was a great experience. I was given the opportunity to speak with many of the state representatives, such as Senator Yaw and the Secretary of Agriculture George Greig; hand out flyers at PSBA s booth; and give out little jars of Pennsylvania honey. At this promotion I also had the honor of meeting our state s Dairy Princess and the State Fair Queen.

Queen Elena at PASA Convention

The next event I attended was the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture Convention, or PASA, in State College. I traveled there on Saturday the 9th and was excited to give my first set of presentations to children. I gave presentations to two groups of children. The first group was filled with kindergarten through 2nd grade and I was overjoyed at how much the children already knew about honeybees. My presentations consisted of teaching the children the basics about honeybees, pollination, and beekeeping. Many of the children loved trying on the bee suit and made some impressive paper plate bees during my craft time with them. The next group of children, 3rd grade through 5th grade, not only had a basic knowledge of honeybees but also shared their own experiences of helping their parents keep honeybees. It was overall an amazing experience and I loved answering the children s questions about honeybees.

Cooking Demonstration by Queen Elena and Alyssa Fine

The final event I traveled to this month was the Western Pennsylvania Beekeeping Seminar in Mars. Throughout the day I was at the EAS booth helping to sell quilt raffle tickets, shirts, books, and give away pens. During this time I took a little break from the booth and gave a speech on the Pennsylvania Honey Queen Program. This was a great opportunity to teach about the program and how it supports PSBA and the beekeeping industry itself. Even though I have only been to a few promotions so far this year, I already had plenty of great experiences to share with everyone at the seminar. Finally, to end the day at the seminar, Alyssa Fine and I gave a cooking demonstration on the benefits of cooking with honey. We had four great recipes to offer and many tips on cooking with honey. At the end of the demonstration we had plenty of samples to give out. It was a lovely weekend and I m excited for more great experiences and opportunities to promote!

The first month of my reign as Honey Queen has already been a rewarding one. I m thoroughly enjoying promoting the beekeeping industry and PSBA throughout Pennsylvania. As my year progresses onward and promotion requests continue to flow in for 2013, don t miss out on your chance to invite me to your event. To invite me or Princess Jessica to an event, contact Rachel Bryson, queen program chair, at or 717-300-0146.

PA Honey Queen Report (January 2013)
  by Elena Hoffman - 2013 PA Honey Queen

Hello, fellow beekeepers! I hope that as we reach the heart of winter all of you are faring well! I m excited to introduce myself as the 2013 Pennsylvania Honey Queen! As of now, I am a senior in high school currently residing in Union County. I am in the National Honors Society and am a member of my high school s Spanish and Interact club. I plan to attend college in the fall at West Chester University for Biology.

Cooking Demonstration

Honey Queen and Princess

In January I began my promotion year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. My activities there included working in the ice cream stand, helping at the learning center, and participating in a cooking demonstration. I helped to sell honey ice cream and waffles and met some outstanding beekeepers while working in the ice cream stand. At the learning center I answered many questions from the public about the live observation hives and gave children bee stamps. Then Jessica, our 2013 Honey Princess, and I helped a chef prepare salsas with honey for a live crowd. I had a fantastic time!

During the last weekend of the Pennsylvania Farm Show I also attended the American Beekeeping Federation s convention in Hershey. During the two days I was at the convention I watched how the auction worked to raise money for the American Honey Queen Program and I attended their annual banquet, where I was honored to see the new American Honey Queen and Princess crowned. It was an excellent experience and I enjoyed meeting the beekeepers at the banquet.

I am excited for my year of promoting the beekeeping industry and PSBA. I am looking forward to meeting many beekeepers and teaching about the importance of the industry. I am honored to have been selected as this year s honey queen. To invite me or Princess Jessica to an event, contact Rachel Bryson, queen program chair, at or 717-300-0146.

Current 'From the Honey Queen' article and detailed contact information available on our Honey Queen Program page.

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