Our ever-popular blog series on our producers and suppliers returns with this profile on our beekeepers at Mind Your Beeswax of Hartland, Michigan.

Farm Name: Mind Your Beeswax

Interviewee: Chris

Main Crops Supplied to Harvest Kitchen: Honey used in granola and curried chicken salad and other products.

History of the Farm: Owner Kathy started beekeeping with her boyfriend many years ago, when they would bring their honey to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Sadly, Kathy’s boyfriend passed away, leaving her with a thriving collection of beehives and a great customer base at the Farmers Market, but sadly no direct beekeeping expertise.  So Kathy found Greg in the Yellow Pages and brought him on board to manage the bees–Kathy providing the market side of things.  Eventually Kathy and Greg fell in love and got married (everyone loves a happy ending!).  They now run Mind Your Beeswax together.

Who works there?  Kathy and Greg plus helper Chris

What makes your beekeeping operation special or unique? We have hives set up in over 30 locations around SE Michigan and we do all the work ourselves, from raising the bees to extracting the honey to bottling it.  We’re an all in-house operation!

How would you describe your beekeeping practices? Our bees pollinate apple trees in the spring, and then for the rest of the season they have a huge variety of wildflowers.  The main concern with keeping bees is keeping them healthy–fighting against mites and other bee diseases.  We take a careful approach, spraying for mites just once in the fall and only treating the bees with antibiotics if they’re sick, not as a preventative measure.

Tell me a funny beekeeping story! Boss Greg is a bit of a jokester–one of his favorite things to do is bring a hive frame (fresh from the hive and with the bees still on it) over to whoever is working and ask them a dumb question (like “do you see these bees?”) and then walk away–leaving his coworker surrounded by cranky bees. Apparently bees don’t like being disturbed for stupid questions either!

Something you’re excited for this season? When we start extracting honey in just a few weeks–it’s very exciting.  We work hard all spring caring for the bees, so it’s a great feeling when we finally get the first of this year’s honey and all our hard work pays off.

Look for Mind Your Beeswax honey in our products!

Here’s the menu for this week:

Springtime Wild Rice Bake with Ham –   A spring vegetable take on one of our classic dishes: this delicious casserole including asparagus, carrots, delicious ham from Black Oak Farm, brown rice, and of course, wild rice. It’s gently sweet from being cooked with apple cider. Hearty for a spring day!  1 lb serving $12
Pork with Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce – Tender pork paired with an unusual sweet-savory strawberry rhubarb sauce, this dish highlights the seasonal delight of strawberries. Gluten free. 1 lb Serving $12
Sorrel Potato Chowder – Mixed potatoes are brought to life by the light lemon-y flavor of sorrel and a hint of seaweed’s earthy flavor in a chunky and delicious chowder-style soup.  Gluten Free. Pint $7.50
Radish Carrot Kale Slaw  — Shredded carrots and radishes bring a deliciously zingy flavor to this week’s edition of the ever-popular kale slaw.  We bet this gorgeous combination will have you reaching for your forks. Gluten Free. Pint $8 or Half Pint $5
Salad Mix with House Dressing  — A delicious green salad blend featuring fresh seasonal greens from a variety of local farms, paired with our delicious seasonal salad dressing.  5 oz salad with 4 oz dressing $8

Springtime Wild Rice Bake –   A spring vegetable take on one of our classic dishes: this delicious casserole including asparagus, carrots, delicious mushrooms, brown rice, and of course, wild rice. It’s gently sweet from being cooked with apple cider. Hearty for a spring day!  1 lb serving $12
Beet and Carrot Croquettes with Kale–  Back by popular demand, these seasonal veggie croquettes are full of grated roots, cheese, rice, and plenty of flavor. Sweet and delicious, these are unlike any veggie burgers you’ve had before–perfect for the vegetarians at your table.  We’re pairing this dish with a lovely side of sauteed kale.  1 lb serving $12
Sorrel Potato Chowder – Mixed potatoes are brought to life by the light lemon-y flavor of sorrel and a hint of seaweed’s earthy flavor in a chunky and delicious chowder-style soup.  Gluten Free. Pint $7.50
Radish Carrot Kale Slaw  — Shredded carrots and radishes bring a deliciously zingy flavor to this week’s edition of the ever-popular kale slaw.  We bet this gorgeous combination will have you reaching for your forks. Gluten Free. Pint $8 or Half Pint $5
Salad Mix with House Dressing  — A delicious green salad blend featuring fresh seasonal greens from a variety of local farms, paired with our delicious seasonal salad dressing.  5 oz salad with 4 oz dressing $8