From the whirling of city traffic to the buzzing sound of bees and bleating goats, Janelle Cole, her husband, and their children left the Metroplex to begin a simpler life nine years ago. Settling on seven acres near Malakoff, Milk and Honey Meadows was launched in January 2016.
"I can't stay in stock," Janelle says of their almost instant success. Milk and Honey Meadows provides homemade specialty soaps, salves, lip balms, honey and other similar items. Soaps are made from goat's milk they raise on their land as well. Herbs and natural tinctures are infused for various ailment and soothing aids.
This small business serves not only the Malakoff area, but surrounding areas online. The Cole's expertise has sent them overseas to teach third world countries about bee keeping and other life skills.
While in Africa, Janelle's family, with the help of a friend and others, teaches beekeeping classes at least yearly; which assists in opening avenues providing sustaining long term business opportunities, using available natural resources. While encouraging locals in places like Malawi, to obtain and maintain equipment for keeping bees; residents and bee keepers receive valuable health benefits, opportunities to independently earn income, hopefully leading to a better way of life.
A homeschooling mom, Janelle first suggested getting goats when she read a blog about goat milk benefits for asthma, of which, her son had been diagnosed. Talking with her husband, they decided to move forward and Janelle purchased two goats, and was surprised with a third from one of those some three months later.
Starting with two small goats and two cups of milk daily from the goats, it quickly transitioned to bigger goats and up to a gallon a day. Soon an accumulation of milk filled her freezer. She placed an ad on Craig's list to sell the goats milk for crafting purposes. A lady who purchased some of the milk suggested Janelle began making soap. Moreover, she offered to show her how. And just like that, they began the process.
Janelle said her husband always wanted to get into bee keeping. Realizing bee keeping is an expensive venture, she began her research. She learned East Texas Bee Association (ETBA) offered scholarships for kids 12 years and older. When their son Jacob turned 12, he received a scholarship from ETBA, so he and his father took classes together. One year later son Peter and his mom Janelle took classes. Beginning with two hives, they are up to a little more than 30 currently. "We expect to have around 50 soon," Janelle said.
In between trips overseas and daily life, Janelle milks goats every day. Their daughter and one of their sons show market goats for 4H. The Cole's are the founders of Henderson County Bee Keeping Association which they started to offer a club for local beekeepers in Athens and the surrounding area.
To view and purchase products from Milk and Honey Meadows you can visit her online storefront website at www.ourmilkandhoneymeadows.com where you can learn more about their products and story. You can visit her displays at Antiques Junction in Malakoff, Come and Take It in Athens and many Farmer's Markets. For locations and more information, please see their website listed above.