Board's honey farm marks 40 years of beekeeping in Restoule
Master beekeeper Stefan Board says he enjoys the 'calming' type of agriculture
It's been 40 years since Stefan Board decided to give the honey business a try.
In 1974, Board gave up his welding job with an industrial firm in Hamilton and moved his family north.
Looking for a change in lifestyle, he purchased a piece of property in Restoule, south of North Bay.
"We had never been this far north, and off we trundled with the two children," he said.
For Board, the best part of working on the farm is watching the way a bee colony works together to produce honey.
"You watch the activity of the colonies and it's just a glorious thing," he said. "It's a very calming type of agriculture."
Board now has 200 colonies of bees that produce thousands of pounds of honey each season.
The economics of bee farming are challenging, but Board said his family is able to make a living from the enterprise.
While every year is different for honey production, Board said his bees have produced between 14,000 and 20,000 pounds of honey in recent years.
This year, Board said he's hoping the rest of the summer brings warmer, sunnier weather.
"I'm just praying now that the weather will turn around because Basswood [trees] are just about to flower in our area and it's one of our major crops [for bees to produce honey]."
The honey business has been under extra pressure of late.
Colonies of bees across North America and Europe have been mysteriously dying off. Ontario has announced it plans to take steps to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which scientists believe may be killing bees.
Any steps that could help bee colonies survive are welcome, Board said, adding that his bee colonies have largely avoided damage. He said the lack of large-scale industrial agriculture in the north is likely helping keep pesticides at bay.
Board's Honey Farm honey and honey products can be found at the at the farm, the North Bay Farmers Market and Eat Local Sudbury.
Some other honey farms in the northeast:
- Buzzy Bee Farm in Hanmer
- Mary's Bees and Crafts in Algoma
- Bees@Berries farm in Timmins
- Ruchers du Nord in Kapuskasing
Each week through the summer, CBC Radio's Morning North is profiling more families in the northeast who grow and produce the local food that makes it to local tables. Listen in Sudbury at 99.9FM.