“Honeybees are my factor,” gushed apiarist Don Cole. “I drifted into beekeeping with respect for the bees and for the worth of the honey.”
Don’s father, a hobbyist beekeeper, saved hives in Santa Barbara’s San Roque Canyon and launched Don to bees at an early age, but it surely was a “bee-man” who taught a category in beekeeping that captivated younger Don.
“It was less complicated after I began out,” recounted Don. “You would catch a swarm of bees (when the colonies reproduce and subdivide) and put the swarm in a field, go away and overlook about it, and later come again to search out honey.”
Don rented a home in Santa Barbara with some buddies after highschool. He saved some hives within the yard. Obsessed with his bees, he tried to get his roommates , however, as Don would say, you both love beekeeping or not.
Don tried his hand at totally different jobs from farming to carpentry to building. The roles paid the payments however felt tedious to Don, and so he saved returning to bees.
Since making the transfer to their “Rancho Olivos,” Shannon and John have been hands-on each step from tending to the seven acres of olive bushes, all of that are sustainably and organically farmed, to bottling their further virgin olive oil (EVO).
“I spent my paychecks on bee packing containers and gear,” mentioned Don. “With the natural meals motion within the late ’60s, individuals have been turning into very interested by honey and its well being advantages.
“Honey isn’t a fad. There’s proof of bees and honey pots in historic cave work and rock carvings. Bees are talked about 68 occasions within the Bible. Honey was used for medicinal functions and as an alcoholic beverage when fermented. I really like historical past.”
Actually, honeybees are usually not indigenous to North America. They have been introduced over from Europe within the seventeenth century. It was beekeeper Jefferson Archer who introduced bees to Santa Barbara County in 1873, and constructed a profitable honey-raising enterprise, demonstrating that the county was notably conducive to apiculture.
Don armed me with literature on the development of bees and profile of honey crops in North America. Photographs of hives taken 100 years in the past look like the identical hives or bee packing containers used at this time. Credit score goes to Reverend Lorenzo Langstroth, thought of the “father of recent beekeeping,” who, in 1851, created a field with moveable frames in accordance with “bee area,” an area given sure dimensions that allows bees to go freely round their nest. If the bee area is just too broad, bees will fill the additional area with wax. If too small, they’ll glue it with propolis, a resinous combination that bees produce as a sealant for undesirable areas. Bees might not have giant brains, however Don tells me that their instincts are good.
Recognizing a requirement for locally-caught recent fish, Travis went industrial and vowed to fish responsibly and deal with marine life with respect. His concern was find out how to function HAHA Fishing in order that he may afford to run his personal enterprise.
“A part of what made American beekeeping nice was the standardization of the bee field,” defined Don. “That and at this time’s honey extractors that will let you put the honeycombs in and extract the honey by centrifugal drive with out destroying the combs. When completed, you set the combs again within the field’s frames, and the bees fill them up once more with honey.”
Don and his spouse, Ann, run San Marcos Farms Honey Co., a small family-owned enterprise specializing in artisanal bee merchandise. Whereas some apiarists pour their honey into 55-gallon drums and promote them to packers as is, Don is a producer-packer who at present sells his varietal honeys together with bee pollen, beeswax and different bee merchandise on the Santa Barbara and Goleta farmers markets, at native farm stands and at a handful of shops round Santa Barbara County.
My “wow second” with Don was when he dressed me in a bee swimsuit from head to toe. I adopted him to his hives off Santa Rosa Highway the place he has about 25 pallets, every pallet holding 4 bee packing containers with every field housing one queen and one colony of employee bees. Don lit a smoker, which works as a sedative, calming the bees in order that we may open the hives, pull out the frames and watch the bees at work.
I need to say that it was a really heady expertise as I held a bee-covered body in my arms whereas bees whirled round my head. It was actually breathtaking in each sense of the phrase — the buzzing hum of the bees, their frantic busyness and their intoxicating vitality.
Standing within the midst of a group of hives was each intense and giddying, far totally different than assembly with the honeybees who diligently work the rosemary, lavender and sage blossoms in my yard.
The honeybees I visited with Don have been gathering nectar from the encompassing sage crops, producing what will probably be San Marcos Farms’ Santa Ynez sage blossom honey, a pale golden honey with delicate savory notes.
The colours and flavors of honey differ primarily based on the place the bees are gathering their nectar. Don produces a scrumptious wildflower honey from one website and a candy orange blossom honey from one other spot. Of all of the honeys in San Marcos Farms’ assortment, it was the honey from avocado flowers that begged me to style and style once more with its amber coloration, buttery taste and wealthy texture.
Don retains hives in numerous places and strikes them round relying on the season. At the moment, most of them are within the foothills of Goleta. In February, Don will probably be shifting his hives to a number of farms and, specifically, to almond orchards the place the bees are treasured as pollinators. Renting his bees to farmers, Don is also within the critically vital pollination enterprise, which is, as Don put it, “the muse of agriculture.”
Requested if the honeys are natural, Don chuckled. They’re primarily natural however inconceivable to certify as a result of who can observe precisely the place the bees are buzzing at anyone time? A bee produces solely a couple of half teaspoon of honey in her lifetime, and her lifetime solely lasts about six weeks. The bees together with Don work arduous for his or her honeys. (Ouch!)
“It’s a must to be tenacious to be a beekeeper,” mentioned Don as we examined the hives. “I’ve been worn out. I’ve had bees die. My truck engine stop. Do I throw my arms up and say I’ll get an actual job? No! I simply use my small truck for some time, scrimp and save, after which get one other truck. It’s character-building. You wrestle. And also you fail. And also you decide your self up and begin once more. That’s the best way of a small beekeeper. Most of my buddies are farmers. We get collectively, and all we speak about is crops and animals. It’s our life. You simply hold going. The one factor that’s constant in farming is change.”
“And so I used to be notably interested by visiting Motley Crew Ranch on Hapgood Highway in Lompoc, the place the couple are elevating a lot of their beloved animals to ultimately be consumed as meals.”
Possibly the streets received’t be as stuffed with trick or treaters this yr however that’s no motive to not have enjoyable.
Comprised of frequent pantry/freezer substances, this one will be made on a minute’s discover.
Jamie Edlin heads Hollywood & Wine, a advertising communications company geared to the wine and hospitality industries. She serves on the Advisory Board of Woodbury College’s Faculty of Media, Tradition & Design and is the recipient of the 2019 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award in Media & Communications. Jamie will be reached at [email protected]