Honey Fest was the bee's knees.
The mighty honeybee and its many uses were cause for celebration at the annual Honey Fest held in the community of Powssan Saturday.
This sweet idea attracted hundreds of honey lovers from across the region.
“This event happens because we have 150 beekeepers out of 250 Clark. So, it started out as kind of a whim when I needed to learn how to be a beekeeper, and it has really grown. Now I’m realizing this is going to be an essential component of all these beekeeper’s lives going forward because we need places to sell honey,” said Kathie Hogan events coordinator at 250 Clark in Powassan.
“In this building, they come from Mattawa, Bracebridge, Sturgeon Falls, Dunchurch and everywhere in between. We have an educational meeting every month with a different speaker every month. So, we’re learning, and the more experienced people are teaching and now we’ve got kids coming.”
The mighty bee is creating a real buzz among those interested in learning more about the many ways they benefit humans.
“They know that honey is medicinal, therapeutic. They also know that bees are the canary in the coal mine for our environment. Everybody wants to do something for the bees. So, they come here, they talk bees and ask questions. It is all really exciting,” said Hogan.
“We were at the International Plowing Match, this group and the Sudbury group combined, and we got two booths and we talked bees and honey for five days, 10 hours a day. It was amazing.”
People attending Honey Fest spoke to beekeepers about their work, tasted samples of honey from around the world and saw a live hive.
Vendors were selling everything from honey to lip balms to deodorant, to candles and baked goods.
Sheri Booth was selling her own line of natural skin care products that contain honey or beeswax.
“They’re all-natural. There are soaps, there’s lotions, creams, lip balms made from beeswax and deodorant with beeswax in it,” explained Booth.
“The smell of beeswax also seems to help relax people. I have been doing this for at least 10 years. I’m here today because I like to network and maybe I can get some natural beeswax from beekeepers in the area to use in my products.”
David Weiskopf is relatively new at making honey.
“My wife and I have four hives in East Ferris. This is our second year. It started because of some health issues for my wife. She was on a specific diet where she couldn’t have refined sugars, so we were buying honey by the tubs. That is what started this,” said Weiskopf.
“The honey is very satisfying but more interesting is the experience of looking in the hives. I find that has been fascinating. The Powassan beekeeper group is a very well-organized group, so I started going to their meetings a year before getting our bees. It is fun to use your own honey. It is a good feeling.”
Craig Steward refers to himself as a hobbyist beekeeper.
“I got involved two years ago because I’m diagnosed with a brain tumour, so I’m not allowed to take certain sugars. I have a special diet,” said Steward who explained that beekeeping has turned into a family activity.
“My daughter has two hives; my son has two hives. My wife and I have the rest. We have 10 hives in total. I love it. I love getting into the hives and learning the patterns of the bees. Every hive is different, so you are learning something different from each hive. Each hive has its own temperament. My daughter’s hive I can go into without any equipment at all. I go into my other hives and look out! They’re very aggressive,” laughed Steward.
Cassandra McCracken uses plenty of honey at her Café Botanica business.
“We use it every day. We make drinks with it, we put it in a lot of our baking, we offer it to customers to put in their tea or coffee, so we use it a lot. We use big buckets of it,” laughed McCracken.
“I usually get my honey from Board’s honey farm, so we support the local beekeepers. Honey is a natural source of sugar, so people are a lot more comfortable with that as a sweeter in the things they eat and drink. And the taste is just incredible. It is so much better than refined sugar. It just has this homey, what your grandma used to make, taste.”
On November 2, 250 Clark is hosting a beeswax wrap workshop.
“As well as getting honey, you also get a lot of wax from the hives. So, what do you do with that? If you’re not a furniture maker, or you’re not making candles, and you can only make so much lip balm, these wraps are a replacement for a plastic wrap like saran wrap, and they use the beeswax,” said Hogan.
“It is a fun process. It starts at 10 a.m. and costs just $15. Just bring yourself and you will leave with a wrap and the instructions, and where to get wax. It is all provided.”
Hogan says a celebration of honey will be held every fall.
“As we beekeepers get better at what we’re doing, we’re producing more honey to sell to people and this is a good place to sell what we make."