Tift Park Community Market in Albany still going strong

Friends of Tift Park vendors stay busy at weekly Albany market

Elizabeth Tye, left, and Chaney Tye, center, owners of Fountain Bridge Honey, have attended the Friends of Tift Park Community Market every Saturday. (Staff photo: Jim West)

Elizabeth Tye, left, and Chaney Tye, center, owners of Fountain Bridge Honey, have attended the Friends of Tift Park Community Market every Saturday. (Staff photo: Jim West)


Theresa and Josh Lorber, center, owners of kayak Attack Adventure, with their sons Eli, 7, far left, and Noah, 5. (Staff photo: Jim West)

ALBANY — Vendors continue to pitch their tents at the Friends of Tift Park Community Market, with 60 or more in attendance at the park on Saturday. Customers were there for everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to colored glass, portraits, wood craft, bird feeders and live music.

Some of the vendors, like Josh and Theresa Lorber, came to hawk their service-based businesses. Josh’s “day job” is working at Albany Audiology and Hearing Aid Center with his dad, Doug Lorber. Now the younger Lorbers have launched their part-time endeavor, Kayak Attack Adventure, a custom kayak rental service.

“Our most popular trip is for the Kinchafoonie Creek,” Josh Lorber said. “We take our friends out there and they’re amazed. When we show people a picture of it, they think it’s some exotic location and not in our ‘back yard’”

For a fixed fee of $35 per person, the Lorbers provide kayaks and transportation from the Highway 19 bridge to the Highway 32 bridge in Lee County, where their clients will launch to the Kinchafoonee for an all-day adventure, Josh Lorber says.

“It’s a five- or six-hour trip if you go straight through,” Josh Lorber said, “But about halfway in is the ‘blue hole,’ and you’ll probably want to hang out there and swim for a couple of hours. After that, it’s about another two hours to the finish.”

Theresa Lorber works at night as bar manager at Harvest Moon restaurant, which means one parent is always available for their children, Eli, 7, and Noah, 5, the Lorbers say.

The Lorbers say they like to do their part to interest others in the Kinchafoonee and the Flint River, in ways similar to how the city of Columbus has exploited the Chattahoochee.

“In Columbus, they have kayak rental, bike rentals, white water rafting. That’s what we need for the Flint River and the Kinchafoonee,” Josh Lorber said. “We can bring the kind of tourism Columbus has right here to Albany.”

Kayak Attack Adventure can be reached at (229) 669-1259

Chaney and Elizabeth Tye, of Morgan, began their new business four years ago they say, and have turned it into a really “sweet” situation. The Tyes produce, bottle and sell raw honey and call their business Fountain Bridge Honey, named for the street where they live.

Chaney Tye said his grandfather kept bees when Tye was a child, and that’s what gave him the idea. Now, the Tyes have 85 honey-making hives.

While many honey customers need no reason other than their taste for the natural product, others buy it for the apparent health benefits of the raw, unheated honey.

“All we do is filter it, to get all the bug legs out,” Cheney Tye joked. “But we don’t heat it. If you heat it more than 160 degrees, you kill all the natural health benefits, like the allergy-fighting properties.”

Elizabeth Tye said that as long as it’s produced locally, some people use wildflower honey to counter allergies such as hay fever, which can even cause sinus problems.

“A lot of our customers have a teaspoon every day in their coffee or tea to boost their immunity,” Elizabeth Tye said. “That gets some of whatever pollen that’s blooming into their system.”

Chaney Tye said there’s a lot of concern among beekeepers that honeybees are in decline — a potentially dangerous situation, considering a large percentage of food crops are in some way dependent on bee pollination. Pressures originating from beetles, deadly varroa mites and the use of neonicotinoid insecticides are the causes of “Colony Collapse Disorder,” Cheney Tye said, or the death of an entire hive.

“We put 60 hives out for watermelons and lost four,” Cheney Tye said. “A friend of ours has been keeping bees for years and lost all but 200 out of 1,200.”

But for now, bees are pollinating crops and making honey. Chaney Tye said that for the time being Fountain Bridge can sell honey only at events similar to Saturday’s market, but he hopes to soon be licensed to sell in stores and supermarkets.

“We’ve had a really good response at the market,” said Elizabeth Tye, “and I think this is a really good thing for Albany.”

Fountain Bridge Honey can be reached at (229) 881-230. The Friends of Tift Park Community Market operates each Saturday from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m.