For almost a decade, Innisfil Creek Honey has been a place to stop and buy pure honey.
But it's also a place to learn about beekeeping and to appreciate the buzzing world of the tireless bees.
Despite years of beekeeping, owner Brian Scott still gets amazed by the altruism in the hive.
“A beehive may have 50,000 bees in it, but they behave like a single insect acting with the single purpose of protecting the beehive and make it grow,” he said.
Whether looking for a hobby or just honey-made products, there’s a lot of good information to learn at the family-run apiary, located about 10 minutes south of Barrie.
Nature lover and someone passionate about bees, Scott kept hives as a hobby until about 10 years ago when he decided to turn his apiary into a business. He praises the time he has spent with his guests along the way.
“The relationships I have made with my customers – both beekeepers and food consumers – make me happy and are all I need to keep doing what I am doing," he said.
Every year for the past eight years, Scott has spent time teaching beekeeping to dozens of new beekeepers.
“We supply honey bees to beekeepers across Ontario. So they can come to us to replace their winter losses, or learn how to begin beekeeping,” said Scott, who also sells beekeeping equipment.
But while raising bees is his primary satisfaction, Scott also values the long-lasting partnerships and the strong sense of community cultivated over the years.
“My original students still come by, and it’s nice to see them,” he noted.
For customers who enjoy the traditional local homemade bee-based products, he informed that there will be new additions on the shelf this year.
“We have added ginseng honey to our infused honey line, and we are working on new products for our cosmetics line,” said Scott, who is also a vendor at the Innisfil, Barrie, Thornton, and Alliston farmers markets.
Feeding people has always been important to Scott, and he likes to proudly advertise the value of local raw honey.
“Unpasteurized honey has a shelf life of thousands of years. Why would anyone want to pasteurize it and ruin its natural goodness?”
Nevertheless, spending time with bees is ultimately what gives the greatest pleasure to Scott.
“The best feeling is just being with my bees and enjoying a day spent with just myself and them, smelling their hives and listening to their sounds,” he says.
As World Bee Day approaches on May 20, Scott raised concerns over environmental challenges faced by bees and beekeepers, and mentioned how the recent cold may impact the upcoming bee season.
“Last winter was extremely long and cold, and bees do not do well over long, cold winters. The hotter and longer the summer, the better they perform. And the shorter and warmer the winter, the better they survive," he said.
Scott said losses this year are higher than usual, and it will take a lot of time and money to rebuild and repopulate the dead hives.
He is also concerned about the loss of space to keep bees due to the urban sprawl in Innisfil.
“Protecting farmlands and natural areas is important if we intend to develop our communities in a sustainable manner.”
He said he is looking for landowners that have land suitable for placing beehives on.
“If there are any landowners in Innisfil that have land and are willing to allow us access, we would be interested in talking with them.”
Innisfil Creek Honey is located at 6090 10 Sideroad in Cookstown.
To learn more about Innisfil Creek Honey, visit their website by clicking here.