For our surprise, we became beekeepers by fate. Bees just came as a swarm into our garden and we had no choice. You need to offer shelter to guests. For a few days straight we collected swarms of bees from apple trees and tryed to figure out what to do with them until neighbour from whom they presumedly had escaped (because he had to work) suggsested to buy old beehives from somewhere around the village and start beekeeping. We have been beekeepers since 1996 and we have also involved our younger son Martn in this activity.
Martin also has been graduated scool in beekeeping. In Olustvere you can now study to become a beekeeper again.Our daughter Helena ja her husband are also beekeepers. In growing proccess is also younger generation as grandchildren who might take over some day. In parallel when fixing old long hives and expanding apiary, we immediately learned how to grow beequeens because devils(angry bees) who we started with, would have taken our beekeeping fun away quickly.
On the left, me, Martin Valtin, and on the right,
co-chair Henry-Mihkel Vadi.
Nowadays we have calm Italian sort of bees with whom is absolute joy to work with. In self-cantered we call our grown beequeens as Inju sort because we can not give 100% warranty that they are purebreds even though we make quite serious choises about queens and drones. We are pleased and many beekeepers who have bought beequeens, have again and again found their way back to our yard.
We were one of the first ones in Estonia to start using multiple-storey hive what is reminding to bees life in tree cavity. Compared to long hive in beekeeping with multiple-storey hive much more comfortable and working methods helps us to check bees situation in hive faster. Also the lightness of the hives speaks for itself and because of that they are much easyer to transport.
In every year beekeeping gets harder because honey fields are disappearing. Where there used to be a lot of unplowed land and where there were forests and other plants for bees to collect nectar are now turned into agricultural land and beekeepers who want to keep their profession are looking for plots of lands where their bees are not endangered by poisonous spraying. But there are other dangers – bears, martens, woodpeckers.
Spring beehive group in Kantküla
Our small product presentation on exhibition
Besides producing honey beekeeper has to take care of welfare of the bees and must also sell its production. It is much harder than producing. Besides selling ordinary honey we thougth about adding honey extra value and making new products out of honey. So were born many of our exciting and healthy honey mixes. Nowadays many of our products are in high demand in Estonia but also abroad. Product development is long process and continues as long as company exists. Every time being at the markets and trade fairs people are coming and asking for new products because they already know all the old ones. Often asked who comes up with these new products. In fact still bees. We stick labels with appropriate mixture name on the jars and put on top of the hive roof. Bees are bringing the exact mixture of the honey as the label says.
Honey with lemon we get when bees are coming back from south in spring. All birds who love warmth are flying south in autumn. That story has been told by the father of our family Igor. Some even do believe him.
Over the years, our business has grown out of our original production facilities. When Martin took over the head of our family company OÜ Artocarpus, he built a new “Honey House” in the village Inju, where time to time honey is being extracted, honey mixtures are being made and packed. Passers-by always have the opportunity to buy genuine Estonian honey when the family is present.
Estonian honey is very tasty because we have different plant communities (including many herbs) from which bees collect this magnificent honey. Plants are giving all the healing properties with nectar and we all know that in good honey lays strenght and health. Fortunately lately many doctors and scientist are talking that pure food collected from homeland is the best food for our health.
In addition to beekeeping we are having so called studydays at home, which are guided by the mother Maire, who has also studied beekeeping a lot and shares her knowledge with wide circle.
As long as bees live, there is hope for people to survive.
Being a beekeeper is a wonderful profession. Once you are getting into it, you are doing it till the end.
Working with dad Igor in Honey House 🙂