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Beekeeping is very important not only to Niagara’s local environment, but Rosewood and the Roman family too. The Roman’s have over 85 years, 3 generations worth, of beekeeping experience, and today keep hundreds of beehives scattered across the Niagara Escarpment & Greenbelt. The pure, raw, unpasteurized honey has a delicate wildflower flavour, expressing flavours of the local flowers, a smooth texture, and a lingering sweet finish. 

Similar to Roewood’s wines, which begin in the vineyard, the honey begins with the hives. By adhering to natural and sustainable beekeeping practices we ensure the bees are happy and healthy, enabling them to make delicious high-quality honey. Equally important is the site selection of the hives. Close proximity to nectar and pollen sources, safety from weather and natural predators, and fresh drinking water are vital in promoting strong hive-health and productivity. Thankfully the Niagara Escarpment, between Beamsville and Jordan, provides all these important characteristics. 

The honey-making process is simple and dual purposed. Honey begins as flower nectar collected by thousands of honeybees (apis mellifera). Flying from flower to flower, they not only collect nectar, but also pollen and provide the important service of flower pollination. Returning back to the hive with resources, the bees produce an enzyme that transforms the composition of the collected nectar. As moisture in the transformed nectar evaporates (via heat from the hive), it slowly turns into honey. Once the honey becomes ripe, the bees seal each honeycomb cell with fresh beeswax and it is now ready to be harvested. The beeswax collected from each frame as the capping’s are removed is repurposed into 100% beeswax candles and lip balms that are made on-site. 

Fun fact – it takes up to 2 million round-trips to flowers (equivalent to 80,000 km) for bees to produce 1 pound of honey. That’s a lot of air miles! Not only that, but bees need to consume 10 pounds of honey to produce 1 pound of beeswax. This conversation is what made beeswax highly sought after and valuable before the introduction of commercial man-made synthetic waxes. 

Honey is known to provide us with many health benefits. This remarkable product is a complex mixture of sugars, enzymes, proteins, organic compounds and trace minerals. Honey is naturally anti-septic, proving useful on wounds or against infections and, when consumed, provides a fast burning source of energy. As the world’s first natural sweetener, honey can also be used extensively in cooking, and can replace sugar in many recipes.

Pure, raw, unpasteurized honey does not require refrigeration and will never spoil if stored correctly; avoiding light and mixing with water before storing. Honey is porous and should be sealed when stored and away from foods that gas off such as onions, garlic or potatoes.

Over time, unpasteurized honey will crystallize. To re-liquify, place the jar into a warm water bath and wait until it is liquid again. Microwaving the honey is possible known as flash-heating – this method, however, is known to disturb the natural benefits of honey and can burn it if microwaved for too long. Short quick bursts in the microwave is optimal. Fresh honeycomb will keep for up to 6 – 8 weeks before it begins to crystallize. You can also freeze honeycomb for longer storage. Fresh honeycomb is typically ready at the end of July to early September.

Want to learn more about beekeeping? Join us for one of “Bee Tours” during the summers or please contact William Roman at [email protected] to schedule a presentation about honeybees and beekeeping. William has recently presented to various high-school / university student groups around the Halton to Guelph area, and to a number of horticultural societies in the Niagara Region providing many insights into “A Year in the Life of a Beekeeper”.

People. Place. Passion.