Mar 6, 2018
Since 2004, my husband Doug and I have owned Beekind Honey in Sebastopol. We opened the shop in a very tiny portion of where it exists today. Doug had been beekeeping for seven years when we opened the store, I as always, the beekeeper’s keeper, was convinced that this amazing local honey that Doug and other local Sonoma County beekeepers were collecting had great unique value. I was also hoping I would have time to play guitar between customers.
My husband was certain that we could not make it on selling honey alone, so with the local bee club’s blessing (only about 50 members at the time) we began to sell beekeeping supplies. Doug continued to work as a mechanic in Marin (for several more years as it turned out) and I did my best at running the shop that summer and fall. We survived, making just enough to pay the rent and stay afloat.
That winter and into spring 2005 was the year that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) as we know it now, came onto the scene and began devastating this country’s and other’s bee populations and changed the world of beekeeping. People came in all day long, not to buy anything, but to ask “How are the bees doing?” Although, I was learning a lot, I did not have the answers. The world is just beginning to comprehend, and honestly identify the causes of this ongoing collapse (though this country is not really dealing with it). I can tell you now, that the bees are still on the decline and the causes are obvious and lie within industrial agricultural practices, mono-cropping and the use of pesticides, and most specifically neonictinoids. Needless to say, I never did find time to play guitar at my store.
Beekeepers worldwide are passionate characters. Beekeepers strive to see the world through the eyes and heart of a tiny insect. They cannot help but promote the bee’s best interests. They cannot help themselves from educating people about bees. The Sonoma County Beekeeper’s Association (sonomabees.org) has grown from about 50 members in 2004 to upward of 500 now. I am very proud to be a member of this group. It is impossible to describe, as I have witnessed, how hard this group works to promote education to the public at every opportunity, here is what their website says they do: They teach school children and the public about the importance of bees, staff booths and present at county fairs, provide educational presentations for local non-profits (including Rotarians, the Soroptimists, FFA, 4H, etc.) garden clubs, assist with school gardens, provide local honey tasting and more.
Beekind provides an Introduction to Beekeeping Class (next one is March 17 from 10AM to 1PM and held at the Grange in Sebastopol) $15.00 (register online at beekind.com or pay at the door). This class is a lecture by Doug Vincent and will help you decide if Beekeeping is for you. Doug will touch on basic bee facts, products of the hive (of which there are many) bee biology, sexes of bees and the jobs they do as individuals and as a group, how to get bees, placement of bees, bees development over time, beekeeping supplies and gear and cost, and what you can expect in the first year. Just a taste of the very interesting and complex world of beekeeping. Collecting honey is the cherry on top. Even if beekeeping isn't your thing, you can always plant for the bees.
Our business has grown over the last 14 years and we are very grateful. We have had wonderful employees over the years and many are now beekeepers. We have developed friendship that will last our lifetimes. Our customers are always really nice people. They love to taste honey, smell candles and talk about bees. I hope to see many of you soon at Beekind tasting honey, or at the Intro Class and hopefully soon at Bee Club meetings, getting to know you better and watching your passion and knowledge grow into a beautiful hobby or business and service for your community and world. By the way, I still think the honey of Northern California is some of the very best in the world and being the beekeeper’s keeper is lovely and rewarding.
Thank you for supporting the bees in any way you can.
Beekind - Bees, Honey, Candles - everything bee
921 Gravenstein Hwy South, Sebastopol, California
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