Meet our beekeeper, Ryan Lieuallen
How long have you been keeping bees and what got you started?
“I began keeping bees in early high school, was involved with bees all my life as I'm a 5th generation beekeeper.”
Can you describe a typical day out in the apiary?
“The activity involved in the apiary is highly seasonal like many agricultural professions. One of my favorite times of year is moving bees from one floral (honey) source to another. Bees are moved at night, so you collect the hives after dusk and peacefully traverse country roads in the still of the night. After placing the bees in their new apiary, you return to your home just as the sun rises. It is hard work but is so rewarding.”
What is your favorite part of keeping bees?
“Spending time inside the hive and witnessing the highly civilized nature of the bees never ceases to impress. Every bee knows its job and does it to perfection. For the hive to exist every bee must do its part, and every job is vital. It still renders me gobsmacked.”
Conversely, what is the hardest part of your job?
“Commercial beekeeping is a highly labor-intensive career that involves a lot of movement with the bees. Much like sheep herders with sheep, we travel and stay with the hives. This means we spend time away from our homes. With the movement and labor involved, it requires a highly organized team of beekeepers to execute all care and movement seamlessly. This is difficult, but also rewarding when our team completes the season with healthy hives and a plethora of honey.”
What are some non-obvious ways to enjoy honey?
“Raw honey is an excellent topical dressing for superficial wounds as it has natural antibiotic properties. Honey is also incredible in dinner entrees such as bbq, sauteing, and braising. It is well suited to add sweetness in place of sugar and molasses and cuts acid perfectly in tomato and citrus-forward dishes.