Jul 12, 2012|
Why did you start selling honey?
I needed extra money for my family. I usually work on a farm in my hometown of Non Sila in Konkaen province, where I live with my husband, daughter and son-in-law. I come to Bangkok when I have enough honey to sell. Selling honey is what I know best as Non Sila has a great reputation for wild honey collecting. It’s a family business, really.
What’s your typical day like?
I generally work from 8am to 5pm when selling honey. Sometimes I need to take a rest on a corner because my basket contains about eight bottles of honey and many honeycombs so it’s really, really heavy.
What’s your income?
I come to Bangkok about once a month, but it depends on how much honey we can find. This time, I have come with four people: my husband and other relatives. The price of the honeycomb depends on the size. A regular size one is B100 while a bigger one is B120-130. I plan to spend a couple of days here this time in the hope of making about B5,000-6,000. It’s not that much money, but every little bit counts.
Who are your customers?
I get all types, from Thais to Japanese, foreigners to Isaan locals. Often office workers will buy from me. Some people like to buy an entire honeycomb, and squeeze the honey out themselves, while others prefer to just buy a bottle. Each bottle contains honey from about five or six honeycombs, so I sell them for B300 each. The honey can be preserved for more than 10 years if you keep it in the fridge. Seeing my customers enjoy the sweet taste of my honey fills me with joy and makes me proud of my job.
Do you ever get stung by bees?
Yes, of course. It’s just nature’s way that if you invade their hive, the bees will fight to protect themselves. That said, I hardly ever get stung because it’s not my job to retrieve the honeycomb. Sometimes members of my team get stung and their eyes or cheeks become swollen, but they’re generally fine because they’re used to it. The bees I carry around with me are mostly stingless because they are only babies.
Is there a best time to buy honey?
We collect honeycomb year-round, but March is a particularly good time because this is when a flower called dok noon, which Bangkokian call dok ngiew, is in bloom. It has the sweetest pollen which means the bees can produce the nicest honey at this time.