Honey has long been a source for sweetening a variety of foods and beverages for over 10,000 years. The sweet nectar has also been used for medicinal purposes, served as currency, and been a symbol in many religious and cultural celebrations. Each offers the promise of making your cup of tea just a little bit sweeter.
Meet our beekeeper, Mark Bedillion
How long have you been keeping bees and what got you started?
“Bedillion Honey Farm began in Hickory, PA in 2004. "We are first- and second-generation beekeepers working alongside our 4 children during hive inspections, honey harvests and pollination moves." Starting with just one hive, the family apiary is up to 1,000 beehives with over 30 hive locations in PA, WV, and OH.”
Can you describe a typical day out in the apiary?
“Work out in the apiary flows with the seasons. Spring is the most urgent and exciting time, with the bees coming out of their Winter pause. The hives begin growing again, and it's top priority making sure they are healthy with room to expand. Then there is the nectar flow and harvest of Spring & Summer honey. End of Summer, preparations are made to collect Fall honey and prepare the hives for Winter. Then the cycle starts all over!”
What is your favorite part of keeping bees?
“Watching big healthy honeybee colonies produce surpluses of honey from what grows all around us is gratifying. Our goal has always been to give our animals the best possible life. When we keep their health top priority, they're able do what they're made to do: grow and make honey! We like to say, 'We keep the bees, and the bees keep us.'”
Conversely, what is the hardest part of your job?
“The hardest part of farming anything is that it's a bit of a gamble. You can do everything right, but things like the weather and flowers we can't control. We're not guaranteed a good honey crop, so we appreciate it when nature provides.”
What are some non-obvious ways to enjoy honey?
“On ice cream! We love how its texture gets thicker from the cold ice cream, and it brings out new notes in the honey. It's also classically good in tea & coffee, over biscuits, or paired with your favorite cheeses & some apple or pear slices.”