Michael Eggman, a Turlock farmer who is taking on Congressman Jeff Denham in the upcoming election, dropped by Virginia Parks Elementary School Friday afternoon to speak to third-graders about his primary vocation: beekeeping.
The Democrat and Fresno State graduate who runs a beekeeping business and farms almonds, avoided any mention of politics of the 10th Congressional District race during Friday's visit but gave an interesting talk about bees and their role in Valley agriculture to third-graders. His visit came at the request of teacher Chris Adamakis who graduated from high school with Eggman 32 years ago.
"I am a beekeeper," said Eggman. "I work on the family farm - the same farm I grew up on - the farm where learned the value of hard work and common sense."
Eggman brought in a live contained colony of bees and a bee hive to explain how bees produce honey. He also told how bees help in the production of almonds, squash, cherries, watermelon and even cheeseburgers and ice cream. He explained that ice cream is made from milk, which comes from cows which eat hay.
"Without bees making the seeds to produce all the kinds of hay we need to feed the cows, we wouldn't be able to have extra milk for ice cream or we wouldn't have extra milk for cheese for all the cheeseburgers we eat. Or we wouldn't have extra cows for the meat part of the cheeseburgers we eat."
"Bees are really important," he said before explaining pollination and the role of queen bees laying up to 2,000 eggs each day. The male drones, he explained, is responsible to aid in the queen bee. Worker bees, he informed them, Eggman shared that honey is the only food substance that will not spoil with time.
Eggman is a native Californian who grew up on his family's small almond orchard and apiary in Turlock. His mother's family came to California from Mexico and his father's family came to California to escape the Dust Bowl in the 1920s. Both parents worked in the fields to build a better life for their children and hard work was expected. The Eggmans managed the family farm, with Michael helping his father tend to the orchard and hives, his mother keeping the books, and his sisters bottling up honey to sell at farmer's markets and yard sales.
When his mother died 10 years ago, Eggman took over management of the family farm. Today he is responsible for 40 acres of almonds and managing over 1,000 bee hives.
Despite this being Eggman's first time running for public office, his sister, Susan Talamantes Eggman, represents the 13th District in the California State Assembly and had prior experience as a Stockton City Councilwoman.