It is not for us to be the biggest operation, but to be the most sustainable we can be with only a family size team & resources. We are an owner-operated type bee farm/apiaries. Owner-operated to us means: We proudly do all the yearly hard, dirty, unpleasant tasks ourselves or work with the few that help us (we actively make a point of not shying away from any physical labour as is the norm for many). We still want to farm/homestead and actively have to choose not to follow the trend of becoming too big and just another office farmer (so boring) by continuously adapting our strategies to find a sweet balance.
Our main focus is beekeeping, bottling our produce and creating an educational farm experience.
Due to the large areas needed to make a living from bees, most of our bee hives are placed on various rural properties where we have agreements with landowners to host our hives (most within a 2 hour radius around Port Elizabeth).
During the season (spring, summer and autumn) frequent visits are made to these locations to do various tasks and the end result that we hope for is that the bees will produce enough honey during or at the end of the season so that we can take a harvest from them. We also need to be sensitive as to leave enough honey on the hives to sustain the bees throughout winter (the reason why they store honey)
Beekeeping requires one to work according to seasons . Working with the four seasons every year gives a new meaning to patience through doing what is required in faith, only to see the outcome much later and keeping us humble.
Some years are good, some are bad. We are totally reliant on rain and how much/when we get it. More rain
does not necessarily mean more honey. Since we are totally reliant on the rain and other factors (which we cannot control) we are humble before God that He gives and takes as He sees fit for a season. We can only do what we can do and nature must do the rest. We therefore see a good and bad season as only an earthly (temporary) blessing.
PLEASE !! IF YOU HAVE SPACE FOR OUR BEE HIVES ON YOUR PROPERTY or know someone that has, please get in contact with us. We are always on the lookout for better permanent or seasonal locations due to bee hive theft, vandalism, drought etc. (yes theft is a big problem). Please note that not all properties are suitable for beekeeping on a larger scale, we therefore take great care in where to place hives so that it does not disturb the area and its activities or push out the natural solitary bee species.
BOTTLING OUR PRODUCE
We've been doing this right from the starting years. Our bottling is slowly expanding and we are working on new basic products. This gives us an indirect connection to the consumer where we do our best with what we have to supply to them. We are not focused on many products, but rather keep things simple and of high quality. To mention a fact - we could easily make 100+ bee products and even cleverly market these, but the consumer doesn't need all this stuff, really!! Bottling etc. comes with it's many entanglements, but we manage to find ways to keep things rather simple. See wholesale for more info.
Apiarista is a place where we, the bees and the coffee welcome everyone. Our heart behind this is to bring the people to the farm to make them more aware of how the bees and other farm related things work. Our hope for the consumer is that they may be stirred to become a micro scale producer and more self sustainable by growing their own food etc.
Future additions are also a working project with more educational activities all to be kept very basic to convey the essential things. We don't keep ourselves busy with highly complicated things and believe simplicity's reward is sometimes more time for yourself and others.
WHAT ELSE KEEPS US BUSY...
We keep some cattle, sheep, chickens and plant a variety of heirloom organic veggies.
We also do our own woodwork (for beehives), most mechanical things, maintenance etc.
Our "to do list" never gets shorter, but regular erasing of the un-important stuff helps : )
We believe that you need to be a jack of all, master of none or some. The aim is not self reliance , but rather to
be more efficient and not be all-out dependent on the failing systems of the world. This is in our opinion a sensible and sustainable way of life that used to be normal many years ago. We refuse to be part of the "new normal" but will keep doing the old normal for as long as we can!