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Read about how our Minnesota honey and maple syrup came to be

For as long as I can remember Springtime, is Maple Syrup Time. I watch the weather forecast and when days are warming up, but nights are still below freezing, it’s time to tap the trees. My family and I tap about 30 trees and boil the sap down to syrup at the weekend. I have become spoilt and wouldn’t dream of putting anything other than pure maple syrup on my pancakes!

A few years ago, I purchased a few packages of bees, and now right after Maple Syrup Time is Bee Time! Typically, most people here, starting out as beekeepers, get their first packages of bees in late spring. They come on trucks from California after the snow melts and the mountain passes in the Rockies open up. Hopefully after the first year, with a bit of luck and insulating tar paper, the hives can survive the Minnesota winter. In late spring I unwrap the hives when the days are warmer, and the first dandelions are appearing.

While I had bees for a couple of years, Covid-19 and parent-imposed quarantine has led me to spend a LOT more time with them. I have had time to learn much more about how to raise healthy bee colonies and optimize honey production, how to split hives, and grow my hobby into a business. The bees are fortunate to be surrounded by wild prairie and woodlands, and because of this they make delicious honey!

They are amazing creatures to watch both in and out of the hives. Bees are the most important pollinator of food crops and a critical resource in agricultural process. By trying to maintain the best possible environment for our honeybees – no fertilizer/pesticides on the grass, lots of native wildflowers and grasses, we are also helping to support our native bees. Such as rusty patched bumble bees.

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