Early’s Honey Stand Has Been Feeding the Community for Almost 100 Years

Early\'s Honey Stand/photo by Lee Rennick.

Erskine Early, who founded Early’s Honey Stand with his mother Mamie in summer 1925, has shared the story of the founding of their business with many, and it is told again in an article that sits on a table at the entrance of their current location.  It seems that they had an overflow of honey that year and he and his mother poured it into all the different types of jars they could find, then they put up a rough counter made of four by eights on top of three steel drums under a shade tree on the old toll road that ran south to Florida. They nailed a rough sign on the old mulberry tree above them that said “Honey for Sale” and Early’s Honey Stand was born.

Early goes on to say in the article that in the fall, when his father was making sausages and smoking hams, a guy came up and asked if he could buy some of the sausages. Early’s father had a reputation for making the best in the county in a time when everyone made their own. Sales took off, and they still smoke their meat products the same way that his father did almost 100 years ago.

In 1985, “The Spring Hill Morning Sun” ran an article about Early’s Honey Stand. Not too long after setting up under that tree, the article states, the Early family bought an old toll house on Highway 31. Since it was no longer a toll road, the buildings were no longer being used, but the shape worked well for a roadside stand keeping customers out of the heat and the rain. The old building has been changed over the years, but it still sits under the trees just off the main road.

Life events have affected the business over the years, especially during The Great Depression when prices fell as much as 34%. It has also survived World War II, the upheavals of the 1960s, and most recently the pandemic.

The business has come a long way since it began. They now carry an array of foods and seasonings, including the honey and smoked pork products that got them started, that can be shipped all over the country. Additional products include flavored mustards, like horseradish and Vidalia onion; steak seasoning and their traditional pork rub; jellies and jams like Mamie used to make; fruit butters; pickled mushrooms and asparagus; bourbon grilling sauce; barbecue sauce; biscuit mix; cheeses; and more.

Inside, the store is set up to look like an old-time food stand. There are coolers and shelves filled with all kinds of foods imbued with country flavors. A catalog of all of their products comes out every Christmas, which began in 1950.

Each shipment was hand packed by the Early family when they first started shipping orders out of Tennessee. Inside the package would be a carefully typed note card listing the order and signed by hand by Erskine. Before shipping, they would hand deliver orders to those who ordered from them in the area.

Recipes for some of their favorite down-home items can be found online, like sausage balls, hush puppies and country ham. Over time new products have been added to the original product “stars” with suggested usage ideas, like employing their pickled garlic as an addition to any butter board, charcuterie board, cheese board, flatbreads, pizza, pasta, salads or stir fries.

Everything in the store is steeped in tradition. As a child, Erskine used to serve customers iced cold spiced apple cider on hot days, and they still serve cider.  They also have tasting Saturdays.

“For two generations my family has been enjoying the wonderful meats available from Early’s,” said one reviewer. “We have sent gift baskets to family and friends and in doing so made them fans, too!  Not only are the meats and gift baskets superior, but the quality of customer care has made us committed to Early’s!  When I have had a question about delivery or proper preparation of any of the products, a person, usually Janet, answers the phone and has made me feel like a friend.  If you want a quality ham, sausage, or gift basket for a reasonable price, Early’s is THE place to go!”

Early’s Honey Stand
5075 Main Street
Spring Hill. Tennessee
(800) 523-2015
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.


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