There’s a decent metaphor in Jason Zeller’s tale.
Jason and his family make candy. Honey candy, specifically. Which they’ve been gathering from bees themselves for over 40 years in Lovell, Wyoming. It’s a job that requires hard work and thick skin. Jason’s taken his share of stings over the years from the “Little Johnnie” bees they cultivate.
But after the hard work there’s something sweet to savor. Literally. Candy made from an old family recipe from Jason’s dad, Clarence Zeller. And they’ve been selling honey candy at the Queen Bee Gardens since 1976.
“Wyoming is the perfect place for raising bees and gathering honey because of its diversity,” Zeller said. “We’re on 100 different farmers’ land and so the bees are getting nectar from every different kind of flower that’s out there.
“Because of the hot days and the cold nights the bees are mean. But I actually think it makes the honey a little bit sweeter.”
So is there something meaningful there? A greater revelation about the American Dream? Maybe.
Or maybe there’s just real joy in making something that makes people happy.
“In candy making, you take the flavor that’s not there and you create something,” Zeller said. “Some days we make 40,000 pieces of candy.
“The honey is very light and mild, which is very good for candy making.”
Honey caramels are a big seller, but travelers can find truffles, bars and toffees to sate their sweet tooth as well. Or take a jar of honey straight from the source, along with candles, sauces and pure beeswax.
There’s plenty of ideas to keep Jason and co. busy.
“We have about three million employees. But only 11 of us are human.”