Market Stories: Boston Honey Company

Raw, unfiltered honey that has an all-natural taste made locally in Massachusetts.

Raw, unfiltered honey that has an all-natural taste made locally in Massachusetts.

Boston Honey Company
Holliston, MA

My recent visit to a beautiful field in Concord, MA to meet beekeeper Evan Reseska was my second time wearing a bee suit and veil (both times for taking photos). Few people get the opportunity to see hives up close so I was excited to see the bees and Evan in action maintaining hives in one of their 30 field locations around Massachusetts that support 968 bee colonies. Bees are fascinating and essential members of the local food ecosystem and as I learned on my visit, you could spend a lifetime getting to know them...

What is a common misconception about bees and beekeeping? What do you wish more people knew about bees?
Commercial beekeeping involves lots of physically intensive labor and long hours. Our crew and my family, dedicates most of our time to living around the schedule of the bees. Bees don’t take days off, so neither do we. Even though we manage and keep the bees, they are still a wild animal, and are free to come and go as the please, part of being a bee farmer is working alongside and with your bees to ensure they are healthy and well so we may pollinate crops and produce a crop of honey.

Checking the hives in Concord, MA

Checking the hives in Concord, MA

When you work on hives in the field, what are you checking for and how often are the hives visited for harvesting honey? How much honey can one hive produce in a season?
It depends on the time of year, but generally we check for; queen right (ensuring queen is alive and present), food reserves, health and strength, and space needed in preparation for honey flow. Crop yield is a variable based on the conditions of the colony and the environment. Some hives may produce very little honey, others may produce over 140lbs.

Weather is a huge factor in the health and happiness of bees - how does the Boston Honey Company deal with the variable weather in New England to keep their bees productive? What are ideal conditions for bees?
Like all of agriculture beekeeping is dependent upon weather. With all these extreme temperature variations that we’ve been experiencing the bees have not been able to fly regularly and has caused colony stress and swarming. We are at the mercy of the weather as like other farmers, and there is little to be done to change crop yields if the nectar flow is either being washed out, or the bees can’t fly because of the cool rainy conditions. One thing we are able to do to help reduce hive losses is our annual migration of the bees to Georgia for the winter. We do this as we are able to continue working the hives in the warmer southern climate, and prep the hive strength for the coming pollination season in spring and honey season shortly after.

Beekeeper Evan Reseska has been working with bees his whole life along side his Dad and company founder Andy Reseska.

Beekeeper Evan Reseska has been working with bees his whole life along side his Dad and company founder Andy Reseska.

Clethra is a monofloral honey that has a peppery, licorice taste.

Clethra is a monofloral honey that has a peppery, licorice taste.

What types of honey does the Boston Honey Company make and how are they different?
We produce a variety of different honeys in several different states. One of the biggest differentiators is our specialty honeys here in Massachusetts. We pride ourselves on the work we do and our ability to harvest monofloral honeys such as; Clethra, Japanese Knotweed, and Basswood, all here in the state of MA. All our honeys are raw and unfiltered meaning that the all-natural taste isn’t adulterated in any way.

What can people expect to find at your shop at Boston Public Market?
They can find all of our honeys from our fields in Massachusetts, Georgia, and New York. You can also find all of our handmade beeswax products; lip balms, skin cream, and a whole variety of candles. All of our candles are handmade by my mom and you can taste our whole line of honeys. For fun and for educational purposes we also have a fully operational beehive at our store location and you can come and "check out the buzz!". 

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What is your favorite way to enjoy eating honey?
I have a huge list of ways to eat my honey. Personally there is nothing more satisfying than taking a bite of honeycomb fresh out of the hive. Otherwise my favorite is first thing in the morning with my yogurt. I also love using our Japanese Knotweed honey on chicken and waffles, it's one of my favorite meals of all time.

You can learn more and order honey at
www.bostonhoneycompany.com

Or stop by their shop at
Boston Public Market

Photos: Melissa DiPalma