Karen Mosholder woke up one night from a dream with the words “BumbleBerry Apiary Heritage Select Honeys” buzzing through her head. Dreams often inspire short stories or poetry. She thought enough to jot it down in a journal, but had no idea that this particular dream was a harbinger of a new and very different career.
A few years later, Karen was working as a marketing consultant for an international health care company when she read about Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious ailment killing off significant numbers of the world’s honeybees. She felt a call-to-action, signed up for a beekeeping class and set up several hives around her Somerset, Pennsylvania home. The bees quickly became such an important part of her life that when her latest consulting job ended, she decided to make a go of it as a beekeeper. Then the dream came back to her, and she realized she already had the perfect name for her new business.
At first, she was only selling honey, but the marketing consultant in her couldn’t help but look for ways to extend the value of her precious commodity. A family cookie bar recipe inspired a sweet spread made from her own honey, butter and milk from a Pennsylvania dairy, and maple syrup from a sugar camp just down the road. She makes the honey maple creams in a commercial kitchen in her own honey house, simmering down the mixture until all the liquid from the milk has evaporated. Each small batch yields just a few dozen jars.
Karen also sells a line of skincare products that make use of honey, “Mother Nature's original antibacterial agent.” The bars have a following, but the honey maple creams are so popular that Karen is working with other local growers and business leaders to organize a community commercial kitchen for larger batches.
She’s worked hard to make BumbleBerry Farms a successful business, but she’s still figuring out how she can do more to help the larger honeybee population. We can’t wait to see what she dreams up next.
Best reaction from a customer?
One young man, upon sampling my Honey Maple Cream, offered up his hand in marriage and a young woman told me that she wanted to jump into a jar of Salted Honey Caramel and live there.
Typical day in the life of a beekeeper?
Every single day is different. Today I spent the morning collecting a swarm of bees that had left their previous home and were looking for a new one – I hope my apiary pleases them – and the afternoon was spent catching up on email, filling orders, replenishing raw materials and booking a trip to France, where I'll be interning this summer on a lavender farm.