Romania - The Snellville Honey Man
By Dave Emanuel | Gwinnett Citizen Correspondent
Edward Sezonov is known throughout the southern part of Gwinnett County as “The Snellville Honey Man”. Every Saturday during the Snellville Farmer’s Market’s June-to-September season, he mans a booth and sells the local honey he harvests from the 40-odd hives he maintains.
But he doesn’t just sell honey- anyone who has stopped by the booth knows that Edward’s first response when someone walks up is to offer them a free sample.
He also speaks fondly about bees and the benefits of local honey. It’s a subject in which he has invested a lot of time and passion, dating back to the time he was a child and dreamed of being a bee-keeper and harvesting honey. He knew, however, that it would be virtually impossible for him to pursue that dream in his native Romania. But he knew that the key to making any of his dreams come true was to pursue his desire to emigrate to the United States.
After arriving in the United States in 1981, Edward lived in Chicago where he worked for a medical instrument company. His experiences in the Romanian military had provided him with a background in the field and he worked in management, production and training. It was an excellent job, and he enjoyed it, but his son had developed a number of severe allergies while living in the Chicago area. That prompted him to look for somewhere else to live.
It was during a trip to Florida that Edward discovered Georgia. He did some research into a number of areas in the state and found Snellville to his liking. He and his family moved there in 1989, and he opened his own medical equipment business. It was very successful and provided enough income for Edward to invest in commercial and residential real estate. Ultimately, he transitioned out of the medical business so he could concentrate on managing his real estate—and on bees and honey.
For Edward Sezonov, living in the United States has literally enabled him to make a number dreams come true. In addition to becoming a highly successful bee-keeper, he also has a number of chickens that provide eggs for him to sell at the Farmer’s Market.
Keeping bees and chickens is no easy task. He states, “It’s hard work. You have to operate on a military kind of schedule and do things on time. If you don’t the hives won’t survive. But I love every minute of it.” He also mentions that keeping bees and selling honey has been good for him personally. “I was a very shy person and I never spoke to people I didn’t know. I was sure no one would listen to me because I talk with an accent. But I have to talk to people who I don’t know at the farmer’s markets and now I’m not so shy anymore.
Understandably, Edward is very happy living here. Having experienced life in a socialist/communist country and in the United States, he has an accurate perspective on the realities of both types of political systems. He explains, “When I left, Romania was a communist country with a president (dictator) that made life terrible. In 1989 the people killed the president and Romania is now a democracy. It’s a beautiful country and Bucharest, the city where I lived is beautiful too. But I’m not sorry for one second that I moved here. I consider the United States my country and I don’t understand the people who were born here, who are so ignorant of what they have. “In a socialist country, you are considered a traitor if you say the wrong thing, and if you say the wrong thing you are dead. I used to think everyone should serve at least one year in the military so they know what it takes to be free. Now when I hear the things some people say, I think everyone should live one year in a socialist country. They think with socialism everyone is equal and they are. They are all equally poor. The only people who are not poor are people in the government and the people who are married to the government. It upsets me that people don’t appreciate this great country.”