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The Beekeeper's Daughter: Leeanne Goetz of Honey Ridge Farms shares recipes

Leeanne Goetz Honey Ridge Farms owner Leeanne Goetz is a beekeeper's daughter.  She's also deathly allergic to honey bees - as was her mother.

"It's a fairly common occurence among beekeeper's wives," said Goetz, who with son, Ryan, himself a fifth-generation beekeeper, keeps the family tradition going strong.

Since 2004 Honey Ridge Farms of Brush Prairie, WA, has been producing artisan honey and other honey-based products, including a Sofi award-wining Honey Balsamic vinegar. 

"My dad was a beekeeper for the majority of his working life," she said. "He inspired me.  He had a huge impact on what I do for a living and on what Ryan does for a living. Most beekeepers grow up with it. You don't go to school for it."

Goetz got her start selling her son's blueberry and blackberry honey.   She'd always been in sales, so she took on the job of one-woman sales team.

"I wasn't working at the time I started Honey Ridge Farms. If I'd known more about what I was doing, I'd probably never have tried it," she added.

Goetz  kept looking for ways to expand the business, to develop a product that would separate her from other honey producers.  She tried everything from candles to skin care.

She found her sweet spot with help from the National Honey Board product development team. During a beekeeping convention, she first heard about what they were doing with honey vinegars and she thought it seemed like a good idea.

Turns out Goetz's idea was a honey of a hunch and she dropped the other less successful ventures.

 Today, her company produces a range of honeys and honey cremes as well as gourmet glazes, vinegars, and grilling sauces.

 "It's always exciting to be the first one, but you're pioneering a new product,"  said Goetz.



Balsamic Pork Stir-Fry

adapted from a Honey Ridge Farms recipe

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 clove garlic (crushed)

½ lb pork, sliced or cubed

1 red pepper, julienned

½ lb fennel, julienned

2 oz orange juice

2 oz Balsamic Honey Vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 lb baby arugula


Heat pan with garlic and oil. Add sliced pork. Sautee for 2-3 minutes. Add red bell pepper and asparagus. Continue cooking until pork has reached desired browness, about five minutes. Add orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Place baby arugula on a plate and arrange pork, peppers and asparagus on top. Drizzle with some of the pan sauce.

Serves four.


Brussels Sprouts with Honey-Nut Butter

For the Butter

 1/4 cups walnuts
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon honey

For the Brussels Sprouts

1/4 cup good quality-olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes or until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 10 minutes; set aside. Finely chop the nuts when they are cool enough to handle. In a small bowl, use a spatula to combine the nuts, lemon zest, thyme, honey and salt. Set aside or refrigerate if using later.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally as the sprouts begin to brown, until all of the sprouts are golden-brown on most sides( they will still be firm), about 15 to 18 minutes. Add broth and cover the pan. Cook until broth has reduced to a few tablespoons, about 2 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high and boil off most of the remaining liquid, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the honey-walnut butter in spoonfuls; toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves four.





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