LeeAnn Townsend

How long have you been keeping bees and what got you started?
Our family started beekeeping as a hobby in 2008. It started with my mother-in-law wanting a beehive. She had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and my husband purchased a couple hives for her to watch and to pollinate her garden. None of us knew anything about beekeeping! We quickly learned though! Our son at the age of 11 jumped right in and learned very quickly studying and befriending wonderful mentors. It was not long and our daughters soon followed with their interest. As our love of beekeeping grew, so did our hives and honey production. We progressed to the level of commercial beekeepers and officially formed our LLC in 2011. Currently we run 1500-2000 hives annually, send truckloads of bees to California for almond pollination, and our bees produce honey from approximately 4 different Florida nectar flows each year.
Can you describe a typical day out in the apiary?
Well it would definitely depend on the time of year, but it always starts with a early morning. Most mornings start with a short work meeting discussing the plan for the day and a spiritual devotional message during our meeting as we are a Christian family. Then we all head out! For me (mom) my day is filled with office details, filling honey and beeswax orders. If they need me in other areas I help where needed. For the rest of the family they are out in the bee yards checking the beehives, moving beehives, pulling and extracting honey, treating beehives, splitting hives to make increases, equipment maintenance, preparing and/or maintaining bee yards, etc. There is always a lot of hard work to do as a beekeeper!
What is your favorite part of keeping bees?
I would have to say on behalf of the entire family, it would have to be... seeing happy, healthy, beehives thrive in their environment. It is also very gratifying to see hives produce beautiful frames of honey that look and taste so wonderful that our consumers love so much!
Conversely, what is the hardest part of your job?
Well its easy to say being in Florida... working in the summer heat as a beekeeper especially because we have to wear protection while working, it gets HOT!
What are some non-obvious ways to enjoy honey?
Other than eating honey... it is used in many health and beauty products like shampoo and conditioners, lip balms, baths to soften skin, face washes, to heal cuts and scrapes, for sore throats, treat acne, help decrease anxiety, etc. There are many wonderful natural based recipes that can be found online for ways to use honey besides the obvious eating of honey. Honey is an amazing natural product from bees!
photo of raw honey - black teas
LeeAnn Townsend's
raw honey - black teas
Known for its recognizable aroma, this Orange Blossom honey is dense and richly sweet.