If you’re ever in Umatilla, Florida there’s someone you must meet. Charlotte Randall, charming, generous, interesting, and retired chair of the national Honey Queen Program will gladly share her abundant knowledge about beekeeping and the program that keeps it alive. She calls beekeeping “the most fascinating business,” and is quick to remind you that ninety percent of what you see on your table is pollinated by bees.
Randall married into a beekeeping family in 1958. She first became involved with the Honey Queen Program on the local level, and moved up to become National Chair. Her husband’s role on the board of the Sioux Bee Association and the National Honey Board, along with her own role on the Nomination Committee for the National Honey Board made Randall a valuable and knowledgeable member of the Honey Queen Committee for over twelve years. The National Honey Board is a USDA supervised federal research and promotion board that strives to increase awareness of honey and its benefits in order to maintain a strong market. Randall’s knowledge in this area gave her insight into the Honey Queen selection process. She was such a valued member of the committee that she was then nominated Honey Queen Chair and served in this position for two years.
As Honey Queen Chair, Randall’s primary role was being there for the Queens and Princesses if they ever needed anything. The Chair is responsible for helping facilitate travel, functions, and housing for the American Honey Queen during her yearlong reign. She organizes the judges and voting process for the annual Honey Queen Competition and heads the Honey Queen Committee. As a previous Honey Queen Committee member, she was able to facilitate its role in selecting the judges, supporting the Queens and Princesses from each state, receiving applications, and participating in the ABF Conference. The Chair is also a resource for future and past Queens and Princesses, as well as at large members that may have questions regarding the program. In addition to keeping her Queen’s spirits high, Randall spoke about the inspiration she received from them as they tried new things and sought new experiences.
Charlotte Randall is quick to sing the praises of the Honey Queens she supervised during her time as Committee member and Chair. She boasted their successes as anesthesiologist and commanders in the army where they utilized the valuable skills they acquired in their role as National Honey Queens. She feels the Honey Queen Program is a beneficial stepping stone to future careers as it gives the girls a chance to travel, become adept public speakers, and open their eyes to trying new things. She also touted the queens’ extensive knowledge of the American Beekeeping Federation and beekeeping in general. Randall’s role as selfless guiding light to these young girls is apparent in her statement that “watching them do good makes you feel good”.
Despite her love of the beekeeping industry, Randall recognizes its challenges. Trying to support three sons on the family hives and beeswax business wasn’t enough and she sold it seventeen years ago. However, she continues to live in Umatilla and positively impact her community through cooking at an adult center and volunteering at her church.