Melissa Cartwright has a vision to bring you the most local honey possible. Honey from your own backyard. Her project Backyard Buzz, just completed its first season and the sticky harvest is wrapped up. Or more realistically, it’s in jars.
With Backyard Buzz, Melissa is encouraging people to become co-creators in making local honey by placing beehives in their yards. “Zoning in Vancouver permits single family dwellings to have up to two hives,” she explains. As a beekeeper, or apiarist, Melissa takes care of the bees and helps with the honey harvest.
Melissa explains that because the bees feed on the nectar of plants and flowers that are close to the hive, the flavour of the honey is unique by location. “I want to have specific neighbourood honey; a different tasting honey based on where the hives are located. What’s planted in the area determines the profile.”
Looking ahead, Melissa sees the Backyard Buzz could be an umbrella project for other backyard beekeepers. “I’d love to be able to carry the honey from other backyard beekeepers. Even a small amount”
The two locations where Melissa had hives are also farmed by Inner City Farms. In the future, you could get the honey from the bees that pollinated your vegetables.
All of the honey that Melissa produced this year has been sold. Thankfully, she has provided NOWBC with honey from another local beekeeper, Frank Struber.
Frank has been tending to bees for over thirty years at his home in Mt. Lehman. He has even helped Melissa get going. “Frank is a dedicated beekeeper who has vast amounts of knowledge on these incredible insects. He even sold me my first bees.”
Frank and Melissa share the same natural management ideals that provides great tasting, and responsible honey. They do this through:
• providing a low-stress environment for the bees with stationary hives
• leaving behind two boxes (the cases where the honeycomb is formed) of honey after harvesting for the bees to feed on through the winter
• supplement-feed when needed, not as a way to increase honey production
• practicing pest management without chemicals whenever possible