Bees mean business for Weston man
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Garden Editor
Thursday, 26 July 2012 08:07
WESTON - Veteran gardeners and farmers know the invaluable service of bees. Bill Morey, along with his wife, Deborah, are using the productivity of bees as a nice small business venture.
|Bill Morey checking on the honeycomb production of his bees. (Photos: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The couple have begun the Hive N Garden, LLC, based out of their home in Weston.
Though they have bee hives at their home, most of their 11 hives are scattered around the county in other locations.
Morey says they produce raw honey without any chemicals and without heating it as many honey producers do.
He also, for the most part, does not use any smoke to handle or move the bees.
"The bees are much more gentle," Morey said. "There is no benefit to me or the bees to use the smoke."
With as many as 50,000 bees servicing his hives, one might expect he has been stung frequently.
"When handling my hives, even one sting is a rarity," he said.
He does take a lot of caution because Morey knows the bees will defend their hive and its queen.
"It's certainly nothing like the 'killer bees' as seen in the movies," he said.
It's also not like the cautionary tales of the vicious bees migrating our 11 way from South America.
The process used to capture and process the honey sold is all natural.
He uses "capped honey" which Morey says is the "perfect scenario" as it has the right moisture content.
"It won't go bad, it won't grow mold," he said.
Pointing to some of the capped honey on one of the frames in the hive he said, "You can take this, put it in a plastic container and it will last literally forever. It won't go bad."
He stressed everything he does at his hives is all natural. He uses no pesticides for any bee enemies. He does have traps near the hives which catch moths, beetles, mites, etc.
|Some of the 50,000 bees servicing Morey’s hives
His start into the bee business was rather modest roughly six years ago.
"I did a lot of gardening but there were no bees," Morey said.
After 18 months of research and contact with the Maumee Valley Beekeepers, he built is own equipment and started his first hive. It was successful and he got homey which the family could use.
"I expanded a little at a time," More said. His hives are located in three different locations. He makes sure there are plenty of sources for the bees, locating the hives in wildflower fields. He also selects areas away from fields where chemical fertilizers or pesticides may be used.
Morey says he focuses on the all-natural aspect of his hives because, "I don't want anything in that honey, because I'm eating it."
Most honey purchased in the store has been heated to expedite the collection of the honey and getting it on the shelf.
"We crush it and let the honey drain. There is no heat involved," he said.
"The raw honey has an amazing flavor. It has all of the qualities of what the bees eat," Morey added.
The raw honey will crystallize after time, but a little heat will restore it to the natural state.
Morey said that honey right from the comb was one of the first snacks of people.
"Before candy, before gum, that's what people ate."
The family operation is not a major business, but it does give the couple and their children something to do together. The children, Hannah, 12, and Asa, 9, are very involved; while even 2-year-old Laydan helps carry items and bags for them.
"The are all involved. The kids get to see where there food comes from. They really enjoy it," Morey said.
|Bill Morey produces raw honey without any chemicals
The family takes their honey and other products to the farmers market on Saturdays, which is held at Stimmel's Market on West Wooster Street. That market runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday.
This fall he hopes to create some whipped honey which will be sold. He said the whipped honey has more of a butter consistency.
He does have a solar melter which is used to melt the beeswax cubes.
Beeswax can be used as a lubricant on zippers and drawers and is also used to make a homemade lip balm and a cold-process soap.
Since taking their products to market, Morey says "the feedback has been phenomenal."
In addition to the bee products, they also take home grown vegetables to the market. Like the honey, it is all natural and features "heirloom" varieties.
The fresh vegetables have an "amazing flavor" he says noting people who are only used to grocery store veggies will have a "shock in their mouth" when they taste the difference.
At the market, the Moreys will always have samples of the raw honey available.
"Even people who normally don't eat honey, will almost always buy a bottle, once they taste this."
He said his wife has virtually stopped using sugar in her baking and now substitutes honey. The honey can also be used in coffee and tea and naturally on biscuits or rolls.
Because they only have a small garden plot at home, they don't always have a huge selection of vegetables available at the market.
"It's catch as catch can," he said noting those arriving early will have a choice of greater variety.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 08:34