State Fair participant turns love of bees into winning hobby
Click here to see a list of local State Fair winners.
by Joni Astrup
Julie Nathe of Elk River entered 23 items in the Minnesota State Fair this year and came home with a fistful of ribbons.
Most of her entries were in the “Honey & Bee” category.
While not a beekeeper herself, Nathe loves bees and is fascinated by them.
“There’s nothing like sitting in the garden and having them buzz all about,” she said. “…They’re such neat creatures.”
Nathe makes food items containing honey, candles and other things from beeswax, and cosmetics like lip balm containing both honey and beeswax.
“I’ve really had a lot of fun with it,” she said.
Nathe gets the beeswax at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. It varies in color from nearly white to light brown, with many shades in between.
Nathe’s flavored honey butter was one of her entries that took home a ribbon. She also won prizes for her lip balm, moisturizer and elbow and heel balm as well as several of her beeswax candles. Among her other entries
were a beeswax landscape painting, a necklace made of beeswax beads, a beeswax art form featuring a spilled glass of yellow beeswax “juice” and white beeswax “ice cubes” and a batik creation.
She said her most challenging entry this year was a beeswax carving of a cat.
A business analyst for Ameriprise Financial, Nathe grew up on a dairy farm in Spring Hill, Minn., located south of Melrose. She was in 4-H and competed at the county fair, but it wasn’t until last year that she entered the Minnesota State Fair for the first time.
She managed to enter again this year even though she’s busy planning her wedding, which will be this month.
Besides entering a number of things in the “Honey & Bee” category this year, Nathe also won ribbons for her squash.
With her second year of competition behind her, she is looking forward to 2012.
“I’m already scheming,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve started coming up with some ideas already for next year.”
Here is her recipe for lip balm, which won a third place ribbon.
Peppermint & Grapefruit Lip Balm
3 Tbsp. shaved beeswax
5 Tbsp. almond oil
2 drops peppermint oil
1 Tbsp. clover honey
4 drops grapefruit oil
Melt the ingredients together over low heat, mixing continuously. Pour into containers. Do not disturb containers while balm is cooling.