Get Your Honey and Run!
In 2016, we increased our beehive count from three to 12 and began extracting honey from the hives ourselves. This past year, we harvested 300 pounds of honey and began selling small jars in the gift shop, as well as using the honey in our dishes at Tarragon!
Since Jason Nies purchased The Inn in 2009, many people suggested beekeeping, and although extremely interested, he was never quite ready to act. In the fall of 2014, the pieces fell into place when a guest named Devon spoke to Jason about her father’s involvement with Summit County Beekeepers Association.
Nies explained, “Devon’s passion for bees got me fired up again about the idea, so I contacted her father, Bob Gallagher, to set up a meeting.” Bob and his friend Mary joined Jason and The Inn’s Executive Chef, Bret Andreasen, for a lunch meeting, and mentoring began immediately!
“Their love for the bees and knowledge has been invaluable,” said Nies.
Learning the Ropes
In the spring of 2015, we established our first three beehives! Bob and Mary helped us find the ideal location within the property. We started with two hives on the upper hill above the Honeycomb building and one hive downhill in front of the building. We were very fortunate and pleased to harvest 50 pounds of honey in our first year from the two hives on the upper hill. At the time, we used Bob’s extractor to spin the honey out of the comb.
“For the first time in my life, I was able to taste fresh-from-the-hive honey! I imagine the feeling being similar to that of a parent who believes their child is the greatest basketball player to ever play. It was the freshest and sweetest thing I had ever tasted!” described Nies. “If I wasn’t hooked before that, I was hooked then.”
Bob and Mary kindly visited several times during the 2015 season and answered countless emails and calls from Bret and Jason.The following season, in 2016, we increased our hives to 12 and moved the single hive in front of the Honeycomb building up the hill with the rest. Weather permitting, we enter the hives about once every 10 days to check on honey progress and watch for any abnormalities.
“Beekeeping is something that I never thought much about before purchasing The Inn at Honey Run. I liked honey and purchased my bear-filled bottle as a regular condiment in my cabinet, but that was the extent of my honey knowledge. Since beginning beekeeping, I can honestly say that this has been an eye-opener for me,” Nies reflected. “I see why this hobby becomes a passion. The act of pollination from the bees is so important to our world. With so many people interested in organic food and trying to eat the purest foods possible, honey is a common and viable ingredient for meeting those needs. I am extremely passionate about the bees now, and as we expand our gardening program at The Inn, we will also expand our beekeeping operation in order to help pollinate the plants and do our small part in repopulating the bee population.”