MAHER, W.Va. – People who travel U.S. 52 through Maher, W.Va. regularly know where Paul and Arlene Starr live.
Starr’s Honey Farm has been a staple in the community longer than most people can remember.
The many gardens spread out over several tracts of land in the Maher area. (Maher is just north of Williamson.)
The Starrs maintain bee hives at both Maher and Chattaroy, with 58 hives that produces six different types of honey.
“Paul has been farming, all his life, and when I married him I started farming also,” said Arlene Starr.
The couple started out at the Farmers Market, selling honey and homemade pies made from the apples on their trees.
They ventured out into gardening more vegetables than necessary for personal use and so they added vegetables to their stand at the market.
You can see them at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday from the first of May until the end of October, handing out honey straws to the kids and selling their honey and homegrown vegetables.
On average the couple has around 50 customers stop by to purchase their honey and vegetables every Saturday. Paul and Arlene have also been known to donate fruits and vegetables to local churches.
Paul and Arlene are very active in the community and Arlene speaks at schools the beekeeping process, thus earning her the title, “The Bee Lady” by many local children.
Arlene looks forward to National Honey Bee Day every year in August, this year it is on August 20.
Another thing the Starrs look forward to every year during the summer Full Bright and Ameri Corp kids come in to help out with the farm.
Raising bees is time consuming and hard work, the bees are very delicate, a few years ago in the winter the Starrs lost almost half of their hives due to extremely cold weather.
Recently, the Starrs were awarded the Guyan region’s District Conservation Farm of the Year Award.
The Guyan conservation district is made up of six counties: Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo and Wayne.
On August 4, representatives from West Viriginia Conservation Agency, West Virginia Division of Forestry, West Virginia Department of Agiculture, Natural Resources Conservation Services and Guyan District Supervisors were on hand to recognize the couple for their dedication to conservation.
The Starrs’ farm was chosen as one of 14 farms in the state of West Virginia to compete for “State Farm of the Year.”
The winner will be announced at a banquet held at the West Virginia Conservation headquarters in Milton, W.Va. between the end of October and the first of November.
Kendra Mahon is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 304-235-4242 ext 2278.