A bees nest found on a countryside property turned a catalyst for a beekeeping enterprise that’s deliberately wild
Debbie Grey and Jeff Chalmers are making a buzz in beekeeping, one jar of honey at a time.
The Creemore-based couple based Heritage Bee Company in 2016 with a mission to comply with a path of belief in nature, not management over it. The duo believes pure beekeeping helps create wholesome bee populations, that are important for plant and vegetable pollination, and in flip, mandatory for a wholesome ecosystem.
“We’re affectionately known as the pleasant beekeepers with big hearts,” Grey laughed.
For over twenty years, the 2 had longed to get into beekeeping, however by no means had the time nor area residing at their earlier house in Toronto. They spent years within the company world witnessing colleagues counting down the times till retirement, and so they by no means needed to reside that method.
Shortly after buying a countryside property within the hills simply south of Creemore, they found wild honey bee residing within the hole of a white pine tree proper behind their house.
“I heard this buzzing sound within the forest. I regarded up, and there was an enormous opening in a white pine tree, and there have been honey bees… I used to be fairly positive they have been honey bees,” mentioned Grey. “It was the best signal ever.”
The “bee tree,” as Grey calls it, was the catalyst for the couple to begin the Heritage Bee Co.
After years of working as “government slaves” to the company world, Grey in gross sales and advertising and marketing within the funding business and Chalmers in aerospace, the duo traded of their enterprise fits for bee fits — and so they have by no means felt extra snug.
Grey mentioned: “We name this our ‘way of life profession,’ one we by no means need to retire from.”
“From the start… We sought to do one thing significant, that would go away the world a greater place, and create no hurt to the setting,” Grey mentioned.
However additionally they needed to do one thing a little bit extra progressive as effectively.
“So we obtained curious, we needed to see if we might convey one thing new and totally different to this very conventional business,” Grey continued.
After in depth analysis, Heritage Bee Co.’s Hive Internet hosting program was born.
From countryside weekenders and yard gardeners, to metropolis dwellers, small-scale natural farmers, and just about “anybody who cares in regards to the plight of the bees,” hive internet hosting makes beekeeping a risk for everybody. Grey and Chalmers deal with all points of hive supply, setup, upkeep, and honey extraction for purchasers, all on their very own property.
This system is designed to assist each the bees and offers advantages to the purchasers.
It’s no secret that bees play a important function within the ecosystem, however they face the specter of disappearing because of fashionable agricultural practices, lack of habitat and rising environmental stressors. To fight this, Grey and Chalmers rigorously choose candidates who’ve properties which can be idyllic for the bees, and encourage their purchasers to plant pollinator gardens and supply a water supply as effectively. Their properties should even be freed from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
In return, purchasers get the advantages of beekeeping, comparable to elevated pollination for his or her flowers, fruit bushes and vegetable gardens, amongst others, with out all of the heavy lifting. Additionally they obtain 36 jars of hyperlocal honey with a customized label, in addition to an academic expertise, in the event that they need.
“It is a much more sustainable pathway for the honey bees as a result of we’re not placing 20 or 30 hives in a single location,” mentioned Grey. “And our purchasers like it.”
This system bought out inside minutes of its launching, and Heritage Bee Co. now hosts hives from the northside of Collingwood all the way in which to Caledon. There may be at present a two-year ready checklist for brand new purchasers who need to be accepted into this system.
On the finish of the season, Grey and Chalmers harvest the honey — offered the bees have sufficient to final them via the winter — package deal it for his or her purchasers and promote no matter is leftover.
To this present day, Heritage Bee Co. solely produces wildflower honey as a result of they consider it’s “honey as nature meant.” The style distinction additionally helped persuade them it was the choice they most well-liked to a “monoculture.”
“It might be such as you and I being informed okay, we’re simply going to sit down you in that apple orchard and all you’ll eat for 12 months of the 12 months are these apples. You’ll get sick,” mentioned Grey.
Bees are the identical, so Grey mentioned they received’t put their bees in environments the place they must forage from the identical crop.
Over time, they’ve added over 10 flavours of honey to their assortment, however they create them by infusing pure — and natural when doable — components into their traditional, wildflower honey.
Heritage Bee Co. can also be a licensed B Corp, which implies it’s “dedicated to utilizing enterprise as a drive for good, placing individuals and planet earlier than revenue.”
“I really feel like each day I am leaving the world a bit higher of a spot. I really feel like I am doing one thing to assist the honeybees in essentially the most pure method, and harvest our honey in a really honourable method,” mentioned Grey. “And the truth that in our personal little method, we really feel like we’re actually altering individuals’s mindsets and the way in which they consider how meals is produced, or how they look after the land.”
Heritage Bee Co. honey could be bought from their web site to be shipped direct from their honey home, close to Creemore, Ontario, or at choose native retailers.