First and foremost, we are beekeepers. Our job is to protect, nurture and support our bees to make strong, healthy colonies. The reward from that is a good crop of delicious honey.
The second part of beekeeping is selling that crop of honey, and beekeepers do that in many different ways. Some sell at farmers markets, road-side stands, and grocery stores. If they don’t want that area of work, they can sell in bulk to a packer who will do all of that for them. Some beekeepers transition over time to become full-time honey packers and distributors.
Our goal is to remain firmly grounded in what we enjoy - keeping bees. We also appreciate connecting with the people who enjoy the fruits of our labor. For a long time, we didn’t even have an online store because we loved having people visit or send us a message about how happy they were to find us. We didn't want the impersonal experience of an online order in an inbox.
We sell mostly from the farm and by making trips up to the Twin Cities to supply families and group buys. The online store is here to make it easy and convenient for anybody to buy honey directly from a beekeeper. You won’t find too many marketing tricks or advertising campaigns because that's not what we're about - the bees keep us busy enough.
HOW WE KEEP BEES
Our bees are spread out around the towns of Springfield, Sleepy Eye, New Ulm and Mankato in southern Minnesota. We place our hives in all sorts of hidden places while attempting to keep them away from agricultural chemicals and give them plenty of access to natural flowers.
For many years, we kept our hives in the exact same locations year-round. Honeybees are amazing creatures that can endure even a harsh Minnesota winter. However, we are facing a changing world and climate, and the bees now need additional help to prosper. This is why we now take our bees to East Texas for a few winter months; where they can make use of earlier blossoms while Minnesota is still covered in snow. These same bees then return to Minnesota in the spring ready to build up to making us a crop of honey.
We strive to use the most natural treatments that we can in order to control some of the threats to honeybees. No treatments are ever used that could contaminate our honey.
The bees in our area tend to make their crop in July and early August. The summer temperatures, the blossoms and the approaching winter kick the bees into hoarding mode. This is the only time of year that we actively collect honey from the hives.
The color and flavor of our honey can vary from year to year depending on the weather and the cycle of the plants. The basswood trees can make a very light and floral honey while the goldenrod can be dark and a little spicy.
Our honey is extracted from the hive using cold methods and is occasionally stored at little over room temperature and no warmer than the internal temperature of a beehive. We also do not do any filtering and only occasionally put the honey through a coarse screen to collect any debris if needed.
In fact, second to keeping healthy bees, our aim is to produce top quality and completely natural honey.
If you contact us, you will probably get to know Jonathan Gardner. Jonathan started beekeeping in 2011, when he moved from the U.K., having previously been an accountant. He began working with his brother-in-law who had already been beekeeping for many years. Quickly, Jonathan became a devoted beekeeper and has now built up a lot of beekeeping experience. Jonathan lives near Sleepy Eye with his wife and three young children.