John Vonderlin: Pilarcitos Honey was the “Bee’s Knees”

Story by John Vonderlin

Email John: [email protected]

Hi June,
Pilarcitos’ Honey was the Bee’s Knees or at least this March 3rd, 1888, article from the “Pacific Rural Press,” thought so. Enjoy. John
San Mateo. Pilarcitos Products —Redwood Times and Gazette:
Pilarcitos valley has become noted for its meats, butter, fruits and honey. Our beef is of excellent quality; S. F. butchers assert that the best beef they get comes from the hill lands of the coast. The luxuriant growth of bunch-grass and evergreen grasses and shrubs serve to keep our stock in good condition, while stock in the open valley lands have to depend entirely on the fodder they get from the barn. Consequently when spring opens the stock in the foothills are already beginning to fatten. Many kinds of fruit can be raised to perfection; the most prominent are the apple, pear, plum and cherry; among the smaller fruits are strawberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries and raspberries. The leading orchards are those of H. M. Jewell and Mr. Gilchrist. That of J. Fillmore is a very thriving young orchard. Bee-culture is a promising industry in this locality. The honey raised in the foothills is superior to much of that so-called southern honey; the mild climate makes it unnecessary to give the bees any extra protection in winter, and as a general rule the apiaries yield a handsome interest on the capital invested. Among leading apiarists are M. Knopf, H. M. Jewell and M. Diggs.”
In the 1920s it was fashionable to devise nonsense terms for excellence – ‘the snake’s hips’, ‘the kipper’s knickers”, ‘the cat’s pajamas’, ‘the sardine’s whiskers’ etc. Of these examples of “Flapper Talk”, the bee’s knees and cat’s pajamas are the only ones still used, at least by me.