Around the time he met Beverly, Bob began to feel like God was opening a door he hadn’t considered before.
“He was leading me to be a pastor,” said Bob. “It was a calling.”
Bob became a pastor at age 26 in New Jersey and married Beverly a year later, in 1958.
“There are so many things I loved about being a pastor,” said Bob, who retired in 1997 after 41 years at the pulpit. “When I was in seminary, I learned that you should study in the morning for sermons and after lunch you should be in the homes of your people. That’s how you find out what their needs are. A significant part of any pastor’s sermon is the application. You want to reach everyone from the 8-year-old to the 80-year-old. I loved reaching people.”
In 1962 the Bradburys moved to Bloomfield, New Jersey. During that time, they befriended a Jamaican neighbor who was raised on an organic farm and maintained that lifestyle into adulthood. Over the following 15 years, Bob and Beverly welcomed five children and their neighbor taught them all about gardening.
Credit: Courtesy of Bob Bradbury
Credit: Courtesy of Bob Bradbury
“It was very helpful, especially with five kids and a pastor’s salary,” quipped Bob. “We really enjoyed it. We learned everything from making our compost to canning. It’s healthy eating, great stuff, but also, I just love to get my hands down in the dirt. I don’t use gloves, I just dig in. It’s healthful in the way of building up your immune system.”
After Bloomfield, the Bradburys lived in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, for 20 years, where they had a large, fruitful garden. They moved to Georgia after Bob retired to be near two of their five children. Bob took disaster response training and the couple got involved in short-term mission trips. They have taken more than 40 trips around the world, including Haiti, Sweden, Sri Lanka, and India.
They purchased a home in Flowery Branch with .625 acres. They have a garden that boasts over 200 kinds of flowers, 36 kinds of vegetables, 12 kinds of fruit and many herbs. They also have multiple beehives and produce their own raw wildflower honey.
It was Beverly’s idea to sell their honey at farmer’s markets. They began with the wildflower honey and their product lines have expanded to include seven flavors of honey, bee pollen, elderberry syrup, scented candles, frankincense, moisturizing cream, and hard candy.
The Bradburys attribute their good health to their homegrown lifestyle. Besides bi-monthly cholesterol injections for Bob, they couple does not require medications and are physically in shape. They love to share the benefits of their products with customers, but love diving into deeper conversations even more. Once a pastor, always a pastor.
“On the way to markets, we pray that God will lead us to those who need encouragement,” said Bob. “There’s some 68 passages in the New Testament with the phrase ‘one another’ – pray for one another, exhort one another, love one another, encourage one another daily. People can get discouraged so easily, so we seek to encourage them.”
The Bradburys set up shop at the Suwanee and Flowery Branch Farmers Markets on Saturdays and Thursdays, respectively. They sit in matching captain’s chairs, selling their products, answering questions, and frequently praying with people.
“Beverly has always had the gift of evangelism, so she’s engaging with adults and children just as much as I am,” said Bob. “The question I usually ask people is ‘what is your greatest need?’ One of the greatest needs is wisdom, because we’re constantly making decisions. We pray with people for wisdom, or whatever their need is, and we often see them again. Folks have come back and said, ‘you’re the reason I came to the market today.’ But be clear, this is not about us, but the glory of God.”
Bob and Beverly, 87, have no plans of slowing down. They have 18 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and a homegrown ministry that they love.
“We want to finish strong,” said Bob. “Psalm 92 says ‘I will make you to bear fruit in old age.’ Isn’t that a wonderful promise? We want to keep on till the Lord takes us home.”
To learn more about B&B Enterprises, visit www.buygeorgiahoney.com