Springtime means the bees wake from their dormancy and get to work pollinating all the lovely flowers, fruits, vegetables and more that we enjoy all year!
Here at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, Beeland is bee-central and our provider of both products and knowledge. I asked Morley, the owner of Beeland, to share some info on his products and what we can do to support the bees this spring.
How did the story start for Beeland?
In 2000, I bought 125 acres of wilderness property in the Columbia Valley region of BC with the intent of retiring. In 2004, I approached a local beekeeper to put 6 bee hives in this spectacular alpine region. That was the beginning of Jubilee Mountain Apiary Ltd, which was named for Jubilee Mountain where the property was located.
In 2006, we purchased the dilapidated Spillimacheen Trading Post, located on the highway between Radium and Golden, and began what has turned out to be a 10-year restoration and renovation project. The old trading post building was re-named Beeland Market, as a retail outlet for our honey.
Today, Beeland Market has grown to include not just honey sales, but has expanded into a complete gourmet store, coffee bar and a new cafe opening in April 2017.
Jubilee Mountain Apiary Ltd. now operates anywhere from 200 to 300 bee colonies, employing 3 full time beekeepers, and an additional staff of 6-8 persons in retail, food production and food service.
What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Calgary Farmers’ Market family?
Our role at the market is more than selling honey and bee products; we are very much filling an educational role to the public on the reality of bee life. Most people are concerned with the life and survival of bees and their role in our lives, particularly as pollinators.
I try and explain the fragile nature of our environment and how it sustains bee life, and as a result of that, human life. Beeland, in its very important physical location at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, has become a critical educator to the public in this very important area of apiary agriculture.
What’s your favorite item that you produce? Why?
Our honey changes year to year depending on the climate. The most unique honey that is produced is definitely Snowberry Honey from one alpine location. The Snowberry plant grows exclusively in the Rocky Mountain area and has a tiny pink flower that blossoms in late June. This tiny flower is very high in nectar, however its blossom coincides with a wet June climate. Because of this, the bees are not able to gather the nectar each year. The production of this honey is very small, and is sold out instantly when we are able to present it in September.
Do you have a go-to recipe that highlights your product?
Beeland market uses honey in our line of Beeland sauces. This product line now ranges from BBQ sauces, Honey Hot Sauces, and other food products produced with honey.
Words of Wisdom you live by:
Bees are one of the few creatures that sustain the lives of human beings, they take nothing away from the universal creation. They are in perfect harmony with nature and life of the world. Human beings should be able to learn from them and live our lives in the same perfect peace and harmony that bees do.
What’s your favorite thing to eat in the market that’s not from your booth?
Margarita’s cheese perogies, drizzled with butter and Beeland honey. It’s a special delicacy!
What are three quick tips about bees that you want to share with market guests?
1. Bees sustain life.
2. Do not spray dandelions, as dandelions are the first flowers in this climate that produce both pollen and nectar. This is the first food for the bees in the spring and it is critical for their survival. Eliminate all spraying of herbicides and insecticides. We must re-educate our minds that this flower is not a weed, but is part of a natural system that sustains life.
3. Lately, bee keeping has become a trendy hobby for urban-dwellers. We, as human beings must understand that bees are delicate living beings, and any aspiring beekeeper MUST ensure proper education and internship with a seasoned beekeeper prior to embarking on becoming one.