Friday, October 28, 2011

A Little Bird Told Me Craft Sale Vendor Profile: Laura's Honey

Over the weeks leading upto our annual handmade holiday craft sale, "A Little Bird Told Me", on Sat, Dec 10, we are highlighting each one of the participating vendors.  Here is a short interview with Laura Stirling, 4th generation beekeeper, of Laura's Honey.

Little City Farm: Describe the products you will have at the Little Bird Sale:

Laura: I will offer gift sized jars of pure raw honey as well as beautiful sections of natural comb, presented in a small decorative container.  There will also be rolled, tapered beeswax candles as well as the "pillar" variety.

Little City Farm: How did you learn this art/craft?

Laura: I am blessed to be the fourth generation of a family of beekeepers.  My great grandfather, Hubert Burke began keeping bees as a profession in the early 1900s.  His son, Douglas Burke continued the tradition, expanding the buisness and managing a large apiary.  My father Randy Burke, began his own apiary in Manitoba and as a little girl I helped my father in his many bee yards.  It was there I learned that bees are a facinating insect, readily approachable and certianly nothing to be afraid of.  I enjoyed watching my father work, helping by smoking the bees, as well as stealing pollen from easily accessable pollen traps!  I recently decided to invest in my own hive and had a profitable first year.  Next year I hope to expand by purchasing additional hives for my bee yard.

Little City Farm: What inspires your art/craft?

Laura: My deep love of the natural world continually inspires my desire to keep bees.  It is very satisfying to open a hive and see freshly drawn out comb, filled with honey produced by the bee who harvests nectar from nearby flowers.  Not to mention pollination, which allows each of us the priviledge of enjoying fresh fruit and vegetables every year.  I love being a part of this natural process.

Little City Farm: Describe how your art/craft is eco-friendly.

Laura: The beekeeper not only harvests the honey, but also concerns themselves with the honey bee's health and well being.  I monitor the health of the brood (young) and regularly check for and if need be, treat for disease.  This promotes the continued health of the honey bee, which as I am sure some of you know, is under some strain right now due to climate change.  Beekeepers are also actively concerned about the use of new genetically modified seed, as some of these seeds are engineered to destroy insects when the fruit is ingested.  Bees consume the pollen of these plants and it is unknown whether they are able to tolerate it.  In addition to this, over the years beekeepers have been an active voice against the use of pesticides, as any pesticide will kill the honey bee. 

Little City Farm: Do you have favorite music to listen to while you work?

Laura: The sounds of the world around me while I work - wind, bees humming and birds!

Find Laura and her beautiful honey and beeswax products at the A Little Bird Told Me Sale, Saturday December 10 at Little City Farm (508 Duke St W, Kitchener). 

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