Food

How Sweet It Is

Talking bees with Aquidneck Honey

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Jeff Mello had been gardening and landscaping for many years when he noticed a decrease in natural pollination, specifically a decrease in honeybees. To combat this decline he started two beehives 20 years ago that have evolved into Aquidneck Honey, and his success has been oh so sweet.

What are some elements that make a successful beehive?
Everything with regards to honey production and the health of beehives really depends on the weather. They do not fly or leave the hive in the rain, so warm sunny days are optimum for honeybees. Combine that with a good chemical-free food source and proper hive management and all good things will happen.

Honey flavors vary so much. Where do honey flavor profiles come from?
We pride ourselves on extracting frames of honey from the three states we pollinate for (RI, MA and CT) and this creates a varied flavor spectrum of honey. I feel that because the bees have a variety in their diet, we as end consumers reap the benefits of that collection – which is medically proven to help with seasonal allergies.

What are some unexpected ways to use honey?
Honeycomb on cheese plates is popular, honey martinis, honey in ice cream, honey on cuts and abrasions medically, honey skin care treatments and hot honey and whiskey for colds, sore throats and sleep.

What is your favorite way to indulge?
I eat a quart of regular Aquidneck Honey per week, as I do not use sugar at all. I cook with our newest product Aquidneck Hot Honey, infused with all natural Ghost and Trinidad Scorpion Peppers that I grow organically here indoors. Amazing flavor profile.

No sugar at all? How easily can you substitute honey?
Replace any sugar you have with our honey because we know where our honey comes from... my bees! There are no chemical processes, it is allnatural. And not just because I say so, you can come see how we keep the bees. I have no idea who or how sugar is made, but I did see a show on TV about it... it is not natural at all by the time it gets to your table.

What can you utilize the comb for after all the honey is extracted?
We reuse our comb if it is still intact for the bees to repair and refill. If it is in poor structural condition, we use it to make our all-natural lip balm and candles.

Roughly, how much honey does one colony of bees produce in a year?
All hive honey production depends on the weather and good beekeeping management. Sometimes a hive can produce several hundred pounds of honey a year, sometimes hardly anything.

How many bees make up a colony?
An average colony could range from 70,000 to 120,000 bees.

Knowing that bees are threatened, what can the average homeowner do to protect bees?
Support your local bee guy, especially if he is chemical free, does not take all the honey, feeds the bees sugar water and practices good beekeeping practices. Know that what he does for is at the very beginning of our food system. Remember our motto: No Bees = No Farms = No Food!