Not every beekeeper is a meadmaker, and not every meadmaker has to be a beekeeper. But there are many of us who endeavor to be both! One of our goals as a meadery-farm combo is to be able to supply some of the fruits, herbs, edible flowers, and of course honey from our own land. But beekeeping has been a journey.
Our start in beekeeping came in 2017, right alongside our meadmaking. We jumped in with both feet! The local apiary down the road sold nucs so we purchased two. And even more ambitious, we purchased two Flow Hives, which are a unique innovation in beekeeping tech, and were going quite viral at the time. And happily we went along keeping bees. We purchased and were gifted volumes of How-To’s, and did our best to be good hosts to our thousands of new farm occupants.
But there were so many things we didn’t expect. Mostly, the weather. A polar vortex and a tenaciously cold winter. A storm so bad that it took out a tree and it landed on one of the hives. All kinds of invading insects and bugs that either wanted to eat the honey, the wax, and the bees themselves. It was a lot to take on, especially with other farm duties, a growing mead hobby, and John’s work in Alaska during the summer months.
So for the next couple years we continued to try beekeeping again, but this time taking things a little more slowly. A friend of ours called us and had a swarm on her farm that we came and collected, which was a great experience! That hive produced about 10 pounds of honey that we used to make a wild fermented pyment with merlot grapes we had picked at our neighbors vineyard. It was a very special batch, and a proud accomplishment. We thought we had finally gotten it right, but the hive swarmed in the summer and we haven’t had bees since. This year we realized we should ask for some help.
So, meet Tim! We met through our neighbors, and recognized right away our shared passion for farming, stewardship, and honeybees. He is helping us to realize our dream of making mead with our own honey. We may not be as hands-on with the hives as we once were, but through his efforts he is giving us more time to focus on meadmaking and getting our business up and running. We’re very grateful for all of the work he has already done in setting up the hives for Spring 2022.
We look forward to this new chapter of the farm. And anticipate a prosperous and sweet Summer 2022.