Category: Food & Beverages
Ray and Ryan Brinkman
6709 Golden Crest Rd
Bismarck, ND 58503
Phone Number: (605) 777-0523
It all started in 2014 when we moved closer to our Dad’s family farm. Our Dad looked for a way to involve us with the farm while still living over an hour away. He decided honeybees would be something we could manage from where we lived and reached out to a family friend who is a commercial beekeeper, to explore what it would take to get us involved in beekeeping.
At first all we knew about bees was that they made honey. We started reading and watching videos about honey bees and found out how complicated and important they really are. Shortly after starting our research, we decided to get two bee hives and dive into hands on learning. We also lucked out and found an extractor along just about everything else we would need to manage our hives, from a local hobbyist who was moving. We spent the summer learning all we could about our bees. It was completely fascinating and crazy to really see all that goes on in a beehive.
Soon enough fall came around and it was time to harvest the honey from our hives. Super complicated, right? Wrong. It is surprisingly simpler than taking care of the bees themselves. It only took one long, late August weekend to complete the extraction from our two hives. Our family worked together to remove the bees and frames the night before we extracted. Then the next morning we tackled the extraction, cutting the caps off the frames, spinning them out in the extractor then straining the fresh honey. We let the honey settle overnight and the next day jarred our honey. We thought we would maybe end up with enough honey for our own use. To our surprise we ended up with 20 gallons of honey!
Now, what to do with all the honey? Our Mom helped us make labels for our jars and we went house to house in our neighborhood to see if anyone was interested in fresh honey. We very quickly found out what a treasured commodity honey is, especially raw local honey. We had people with allergies and arthritis excited to have a local honey source. One of our neighbors uses very little sugar besides honey and quickly reserved 10 quarts from us. We continued to share our learnings and our honey with others and quickly had a waiting list for the next years honey crop.
The next learning curve we had was how to protect our bees through the tough North Dakota winter. Another local hobbyist was experienced in winterizing bees, so we reached out to learn more. We winter-wrapped our bees, since they would not be lucky enough to ship off to somewhere warm.
We had a good winter and our bees made it to spring healthy and ready to start the cycle over. They did so well, we were able to split both hives! We then had to take on the next challenge and learn how to requeen our hives to ensure the hives stayed strong and productive.
We have enjoyed seeing our bees in the vegetable and flower gardens at the farm and have a true appreciation for the important work they are doing. In 2017 from four hives we extracted 43 gallons of honey with still a growing waiting list, so we have expanded our operation to 8 hives in 2018 extracting 97 gallons of honey! We hope to continue to grow our small business and save all our income for college one day.
Member Since: 02/20/2020