Text Box: Honey Bees and Heather Farm

In the beautiful southern Appalachian Mountains
of Western North Carolina
Text Box: About Us

DIANE, a proud recipient of a 2008 Western North Carolina AgOptions Grant, used the funds to increase the gardens and apiary. She also continues to develop educational materials, classes and workshops with and eye toward making Honey Bees and Heather both an agri-tourism destination, and more importantly, a local educational resource.

 

BEES - Diane is a member of the NC State Beekeepers Association and earned her accreditation as Master Beekeeper in the state’s rigorous Master Beekeeping program. She is active in several county chapters including  Buncombe, Haywood, Polk and Henderson where she’s served as newsletter editor and regular contributor to the regional Beginners’ Beekeeping Schools.

 

GARDENING - She has a soft spot for, and a growing collection of Old English roses, tends a not-too-pretty vegetable garden, and indulges in her hillside of heathers and their cousins, the blueberry plants. She attended  the North American Heather Society 2007 convention in New York, and published an article in their newsletter explaining how suitable heathers are in the southern Appalachian mountains despite their being little known and little used in the area.

 

HABITAT - Interests in BEES and GARDENS converged in 2005 when Diane became an avid student of pollination, native pollinators and wildlife habitat issues. An attendee of Penn State’s First International Conference on Pollinators, she is now dedicated to establishing a pollinator demonstration garden, teaching about pollinator stewardship and pollinator-friendly landscapes and lifestyles. A vehicle for those goals, BeeHab, is a fledgling organization Diane is building with the help of the Center for Honeybee Research.

 

TEACHING - The calendar is generally brimming with teaching and workshop dates.

 

                                       We are proud members and supporters of:      The Nature Conservancy

The Xerces Society

ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)

The North Carolina Arboretum

The Bullington Center

 

Diane and Doug met through their mutual love of sport touring on motorcycles. They married, retired from their jobs in music (Diane in Milwaukee) and the automotive industry (Doug from GM in Detroit), and moved to the Asheville area.

 

While Diane eventually hung up her helmet to pursue her other interests, Doug made up for Diane’s lack of riding by adding a couple bikes to his stable which now numbers six, and exploring roads, back roads, off-road trails and the race track. He is extremely active in a wide array of both virtual and actual motorcycle communities.

DOUG handles equipment and yard maintenance -- everything from quickly erecting a 6-strand solar-powered electric fence to prevent a return trip from a marauding black bear to installing honey gates in our food-grade 5-gallon pails; from building pallets and work platforms in the bee yard to designing and assembling a 150-gallon capacity rain barrel system. He does all of the extracting and generally is the all-around go-to guy. Doug also renders beautiful, pure beeswax with incredible diligence and looks forward to earning a ribbon at the Mountain State Fair to join the one he earned for a honey exhibit.

 

In the yard, he does all the work outside the actual gardens; preferring tasks that require his well maintained equipment and gear, though when needed he rolls up his sleeves for grueling physical demands such as yanking cattails from the pond and pulling poison ivy and bittersweet out of trees.

 

Doug maintains his own personal (highly motorcycle-related) website, and also does the same for several organizations including a local GM retiree club.

 

We both enjoy the personal touch such as special custom labeling and discounts for our jar recyclers.

Ultimately we are committed to a small, but growing sideline business, where our work is as much focused on stewardship and education as it is on harvesting honey, propagating plants and making a profit.

When a late hard freeze knocked out the spring blooms in our area, Doug helped load up hives and take them down the mountain to warmer, more bee-friendly pastures.

No, not a motorcycle; it’s a segway!