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Beekeepers diversify to grow

From selling honey at local health food stores to providing beekeepers with packages of live bees, Apple Blossom Honey Farm thrives on a diverse business model. “We have the best honey in Star City,” says Doug Hoffman, co-owner of the farm with his wife, Carrie. “We used to do farmers markets and every local festival, but as we’ve expanded we’re selling to local grocery stores and health food locations.”

In order to have strong hives early in the season for honey production and pollination, the couple recently set up an over-wintering location for their honeybees in Poplarville, Miss. The Hoffmans hope to have a higher overwintering rate.

“We want to help the bees, and we see beekeeping as a way of preserving nature, not harming it,” Carrie observes. “That’s why we set up the Mississippi location; we can keep the honeybee colony strong with the shorter winter there.”

Side venture

They also built a workshop that allows them to manufacture woodenware — the hives that the bees live in and the frames for honeycomb — to sell to other beekeepers.

For more information about the farm, see the website, www.abhoneyfarm.com, or call 866-956-2337.

“Yes, there are days when you’ve been stung a lot and you wonder why you are doing this,” Doug says. “But it really is an addiction. It’s just something that we want to do all the time.”

Schluttenhofer is a senior in ag communications at Purdue University.

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Healthy insects: One of the biggest challenges of beekeepers today is maintaining healthy bees in the hive.

This article published in the March, 2012 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.