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Photo by Judy LeBlanc
Timmie Melancon shows off the national award that Wright Honey earned at the recent American Beekeeping Federation Conference.

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Wright Honey (far right) received the Blue Ribbon.

Honey made in Vermilion Parsih wins national award

WRIGHT — There is a well known sign in the Vermilion Parish community of Wright that lets you know that if you lived there, you would already be home.
After the recent American Beekeeping Federation Conference, Wright is now home to some of the best honey in the nation.
Lonnie and Timmie Melancon’s honey, aptly named Wright Honey, received the Blue Ribbon for their entry at the conference, held recently in Galveston, Texas.
“I wasn’t expecting to place,” Timmie Melancon said modestly. “I think I would have been excited if we would have gotten a third place. That would have been a huge step for us.
“When I saw that blue ribbon on our jar, it was just surreal to me.”
Wright Honey is a family business. After learning of the win, Melancon had to wait for just a bit to celebrate with the rest of the family, who help in the process, her husband and two oldest sons, Ben and Jeff Suire.
“They were in a session listening to a speaker,” she said. “I had to wait until that was finished before I could barge in there and tell them I had something to show them.
“It was fun all having of them there to share this experience.”
The Melancons entered their honey into the amber category, one of the largest in the competition. Along with taste, judging includes appearance and consistency. Aiding in Wright Honey coming out on top this year is shortcomings of the past.
“I am kind of a competitive person,” said Melancon. “We’ve entered before and didn’t even place. That was kind of disappointing. This time, I took the judges’ sheet we received last year. I focused on what our low scores were.
“I think that is what put us over.”
As did the taste.
“Our honey has such a distinct, pleasant taste,” Melancon said.
Following the competition, the head judge asked Melancon about Wright Honey’s nectar source.
“She guessed sorghum,” Melancon said, “but there’s no sorghum in our area. It’s just wildflower. Probably most of it was just goldenrod.”
The Melancons have sold their honey for about six years now. Lonnie Melancon works as an oilfield executive. Timmie Melancon retired as a teacher from Kaplan High four years ago.
“The first year I was retired I watched a lot of TV and had a lot of conversations with my dogs and cats,” Melancon said with a laugh. “I decided I probably needed more to do.”
While she has found more to do, Melancon said working with the bees doesn’t really feel like work at all.
“It’s work at my time,” Melancon said. “I can drink two cups of coffee in the morning because the bees don’t get going until later.”
Even with the recent honor, the work will not be expanding. The honey can be found at retail outlets in Vermilion Parish. The furthest it can be found is Lafayette.
“We’re hoping this will get us some more exposure,” Melancon said. “We are not going to grow on what we do. The large companies have thousands of hives. We float between 100 and 150 hives. We can keep the quality of or product better under our own control. “
That process has worked well for them, in terms of both awards and enjoyment.
“It’s an exciting time for us right now,” Melancon said.

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