Ten years ago, Laura Kimball bought her husband Jeff a beehive for Christmas. He bought her a standing bass. Yes, she loves her massive string instrument and still plays it, but the beehive that was the real winner.
Their bees roamed across the local countryside, pollinating a bit of this, a bit of that. It wasn't fancy single-source honey, but the Kimballs thought it tasted shockingly good.
Soon, they started selling honey at farmers markets, and found other people liked the taste too. They jokingly called the bees “free-range,” but what they (and everyone else) loved about their honey was that each batch was a unique seasonal honey, resulting from a particular mix of plants that happened to be growing that year, from fruit trees in the spring to clover and herbs in the summer.
They’re passionate about honey, but bees are their true love. Their biggest fear is Colony Collapse Disorder, which has been decimating bee populations around the world. But the Kimballs are doing their part to help keep honeybees healthy and happy, and they've noticed that their honey-loving customers are more and more aware of the importance of these tiny pollinators.
Beekeeping has its not-so-serious challenges too, like being sticky all the time! And once, Laura was stung on her finger and almost had to have her hand-engraved sapphire wedding band sawed in half to get it off of her swollen finger. The lesson? Don't wear rings to a beehive.
How did you take the leap with that initial hive?
An old man named Mr. Smith was kind enough to sell us our first bees, then help us get through that first year, which can be overwhelming. We try to pass his kindness along by helping other beekeepers get started.
What keeps you going?
Honeybees are endlessly fascinating. It's interesting to observe how they work together, how they communicate, how they are cranky on windy days and how the queen bee dictates the mood of the hive (mean queen = mean colony).”
We frankly couldn't survive without PB&H sandwiches, but our favorite treat is goat cheese and honey. I take a log of chevre, roll it in chopped pecans, drizzle generously with honey and serve surrounded by thin Golden Delicious slices. This is easy, healthy and ideal for parties or cocktail hour.