Why did I start beekeeping?
That’s a question I get fairly often and to be honest it’s hard for me to entirely remember. I grew up on a dairy farm in Vernon, so agriculture is in my blood. Not wanting to go down that road, however, I went into IT Sales. Desk job, trips to NYC, the works. About as far from farming as one could possibly get and I honestly missed it. I missed the connection with the land and being outdoors. I forget exactly how Emma and I made the connection from my missing farming to beekeeping, but we made it and quickly ordered our first bees!
How do you get bees is another question I get pretty frequently and there’s a few ways. The two most common though are the two I used when getting started. I ordered a few packages from Georgia (packages are three pounds of bees and a queen that comes in the MAIL!) and a nucleus colony from a fellow beekeeper right here in New Jersey. (That’s five frames of bees with brood, honey, pollen, etc.) To say it was a learning experience would be an understatement.
We lost a hive to laying workers pretty early on but went into the winter with three strong colonies and came out with three. (The only year I’ve ever had zero winter losses is my first year. Weird huh?) The number of hives I’ve maintained has only grown since then as has our little business. You see when we started out we had no intention of ever building a business or really selling anything. Maybe some honey here or there but certainly not what we’re doing now!
People kept asking us though. They kept asking us to make soaps with honey in them. They kept asking for pure, oil based lotions with beeswax. They kept asking for lip balms and beard balms. Eventually my curiosity and enterprising spirit got the better of me and slowly I started making all of these things and more. Other than our soap dishes and honey dippers (because I am NOT picking up woodworking as well) we make every item we sell by hand.
Our whipped body butters are pure oil. We add no water so we don’t have to add any preservatives which makes them incredibly rich and moisturizing. A little bit goes a long way. The biggest issue I see people have with them when they try them is they use too much. They’re used to water based pump lotions and don’t realize just how little they need. We’ve won blue ribbons at the State Fair for both our Blueberry and Coconut Body Butters so far and have no intention of slowing down!
Our soaps are just as popular. Lemon Verbena and Warm Milk & Honey are our first place winners so far. We hand select the most beneficial oils we can and add our honey to every bar. We use the cold process method to create them and we have a lot of fun doing it. Our lip and beard balms are similarly crafted using only high quality ingredients.
And the honey? You haven’t lived until you’ve had fresh local honey!
One other question I get regularly is why Honey Hound Farm? Well that’s an easy one. My wife and I are huge dog lovers and our little Abby is the Honey Hound. We wouldn’t be who we are today if not for our precious four-legged furry friends. So from the bottom of our hearts thank you for supporting our little adventure. We don’t know where we’ll end up but we’re having a lot of fun with the journey and we hope you are too.