NASCAR fans could get a taste of Kentucky honey this weekend. Honey produced in Letcher County will be part of the Kentucky Proud display on Saturday during the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
In collaboration with the state agriculture department, Kentucky Proud products will be served at the Sparta track for the remainder of the racing season.
Ted Ratliff has been producing honey in eastern Kentucky for three years. Ratliff says he was approached by the state agriculture department about using his honey at the northern Kentucky track.
"Now, I got a little statement down at the bottom, where it is 'sweet as a mother's heart,' a little play on words on the honey. And the label kind of caught her eye and she called and asked me," said Ratliff.
Ratliff says he is sending 24 jars of his honey to Sparta for Saturday's Nascar race. The 75 year old honey producer has been surprised at how his hobby is attracting such attention. "You know, I wasn't really into it until this thing started growing on me. You know, I just thought I'd give them some honey and let them take it down there and show what's going on. It's like growing and growing and growing and everybody's getting interested in it. I didn't think putting it in NASCAR would be that big a thing, but evidently it is, you know," added Ratliff.
This year, Ratliff says he has 13 bee hives, down from years past when he's had as many as 25. Ratliff says bee loss remains a serious concern for hobbyists like him and other commercial producers.