The Whitfields are doing what works!
By: Maggie Wright (Jul 5, 2008)
I am an organic farming apprentice and aspiring beekeeper in the Thumb area of Michigan, and visited Whitfield apiaries for the first time today with my brother, who was up for the holiday weekend. We really enjoyed seeing the ladies of the Lancelot Beeyard! My brother had never seen a beehive before, and called the bees "ingenious."
With careful attention to detail and not an ounce of sensationalism or exaggerated claims, Whitfield Apiaries is exploring the much-needed art of natural beekeeping...which involves paying close attention to the way bees construct their own hives, and to the rhythms of their lives, and then managing the hive in a way that tries to replicate these healthy, positive conditions as closely as possible. This requires quite a bit of awareness, thoughtfulness, and patience.
We brought home a 2-lb jar of honey that was not only sweet, but tart and aromatic -- the kind of honey that I will eat for my health, a spoonful a day! And I am happy to know that the bees' health is considered and provided for as well. By itself, the amount of honey that Bryan leaves in the hives for winter is testament to this -- over 100 pounds, which is about 25% more than I've heard of in other workshops, and eliminates the need to feed the bees refined sugar in the spring, which is a common way to cut costs in mainstream commercial beekeeping and can result in digestive problems for the bees, and hive weakness.
I look forward to learning more about bees and developing our farm's plans to have naturally-managed beehives through our friendship with the Whitfields!
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