An Interview With Bobcat Properties
by Lauren Jacoby
Tucked away on a hillside against the Cleveland National Forest is Bobcat Properties Farm. I had the pleasure of touring this incredible property and learning all about honey and the farm. I was actually never one to really enjoy honey, until about 6 months ago when I discovered Bobcat Properties and their honey at the local farmers market. I could really taste the difference compared to mass-produced honey, and I wanted to learn more. I also wanted to learn how the production of honey affects bees, since everyone is always talking about bees becoming extinct and completely avoiding honey. I had the pleasure to interview Lonnie and Mary, the owners of the farm, who were the most down-to-earth and incredible people. I highly suggest asking your local bee farmers to take a tour of their property if possible. Here is the interview:
Q: Did you have a background in farming?
A: Lonnie grew up around farming casually as a child, but he did not have any formal experience previously.
Q: How long have you been running BobCat Properties?
A: They bought the ranch in 2003, started planting avocado trees and other plants in 2005, and started keeping bees on the property in about 2008 or 2009
Q: What made you start a honey farm?
A: Lonnie and Mary originally bought the ranch just to live on. They started the farm to offset the property taxes and pay for the upkeep on the farm. The reason that they started keeping bees on the property was to pollinate the avocado trees that they had planted. They then tried the honey that the bees were producing and decided to start producing honey. After understanding the benefits of honey and realizing how much the local community relied on them to produce local honey, it became a passion of theirs.
Q: What are the benefits of local honey vs. honey that is mass produced?
A: One of the incredible reasons that you should try to buy local honey is that you know where your honey is from and you can get to know the beekeeper. This is important because you can learn what kind of practices they use, and also learn if they use any chemicals and other things that might harm the bees and effect the honey. Another great benefit is that the local pollen can be great if you have allergies. Also, if you buy local and can find out the purity of the honey and avoid the fillers that you might come across at the market.
Q: Does producing honey affect the local bee population?
A: A bee will produce honey and pollinate no matter what and will live the same amount of time as long as you are not taking away its food supply. A Queen bee can also lay up to 2,000 eggs a day, so as long as she is not affected, bees will continue to be produced at a rapid pace. Lonnie also mentioned that he does not collect certain products that the bees produce to avoid harming as many bees as possible.
Q: Is all of the honey produced on your property?
A: Almost all of the honey is produced on Bobcat Property, except the small amount of honey that is produced in the Dakotas.
Q: What makes your honey stand out?
A: One of the main things that makes their honey stand out is their passion for what they do. A side note that I think is incredible is that they do not make any profits from selling honey because they want everyone to be able to afford it. The gentleness in the process of making their honey is also unique. They do not heat up their honey about 120 degrees fahrenheit. Most commercial honey is pasteurized and has the purity of water which takes out all of the nutrients, and pollens.
Q: What sustainable practices do you use?
A: They put mulch down around the trees so that they don't have to spray the harmful chemicals which would negatively affects the bees and the honey they produce. They recycle all the water that they use when creating the honey, and use natural spring water to water everything on the farm. They will also re-use the mason jars that the honey comes in if customers bring them back.