By ARDEN BASTIA
For Kevin Shea and Sue Baron of Rizzo Farms, beekeeping isn’t just a hobby or anything to do on the weekends, but a way of life.
And even though Shea manages the hives and Baron oversees advertising and marketing, the authentic stars are the bees.
Shea begun maintaining bees as a way to assistance his fruit trees deliver a harvest.
“I was receiving no fruit. Calendar year just after 12 months, I was carrying out every thing proper and couldn’t figure out what was likely on,” he said during an job interview. “And then I started out performing the study, and identified out that we lose 50 % the bee populace in this state each individual calendar year due to pesticides and individuals employing Roundup on the yard to get rid of dandelions. Dandelions are actually [the bees’] 1st selection to feed their babies. Most men and women have no thought, and I was one particular of them.”
Shea stopped utilizing pesticides for weeds and bugs in his lawn, and given that then has relied on a healthy bee inhabitants for the earlier 11 a long time. In 2019, Baron joined the Rizzo Farms crew to direct product sales and marketing and advertising.
“It ended up working out,” Shea reported in an job interview. “Sue enjoys the craft sphere, and her son and the whole household gets involved. I have so substantially likely on, we introduced a company opportunity alongside one another, and I claimed ‘Would you be fascinated in carrying out all the fairs?’ And which is wherever Sue sort of took about, and has definitely blossomed Rizzo Farms to a whole other degree.”
For Rizzo Farms, the beekeeping period begins in April, when Shea receives 3,000 to 5,000 honeybees, which includes a queen bee, from Northern California to exchange the dead hives that did not make it above the winter. The bees then reproduce and produce honey until finally late summer months.
“That’s very significantly it,” Shea stated. “The bees really do all the get the job done.”
Shea defined that inexperienced beekeepers run the risk of injuring the queen, which can established honey production back by a number of weeks.
“It can take 16 days from egg to hatch for a queen to come out,” he explained. “Then she has to fly out of the hive for the very first 7 days and mate in advance of she comes back again. And then you possibility her acquiring picked off by a hen.”
He suggests that everyone fascinated in beekeeping or beginning their possess hives ought to consider a certification course via the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association.
Rizzo Farms is not based mostly in a one location, but fairly all above the state. Shea has beehives in spots like Smithfield, Johnston and Chepachet, and leases hives in Sterling, Connecticut. At this time, Shea has 20 hives, but suggests he sad to say misplaced very a number of through the earlier 12 months.
Shea reported fertilizing the fruit trees got him begun, but then really like of the course of action took in excess of.
“All of a unexpected, I experienced a lot more honey than I know what to do with,” he stated, incorporating that he isn’t even a enthusiast of honey.
Baron is a major supporter of honey she claims it helps with her seasonal allergy symptoms.
“It’s humorous how you should invest in honey, and I’ve been telling persons this for a long time,” she said in an job interview. “The drop honey you must acquire for following fall. And the spring honey you must get for following spring. There’s an previous indicating: inquire five distinctive beekeepers and you will get six distinct responses.”
In spite of the competitiveness among local beekeepers, Shea says there is additional camaraderie than just one would expect. “I know so quite a few other beekeepers that I get honey from them when they have much too considerably and really don’t know what to do with it. We all grew to become good friends.”
The main concentrate for Rizzo Farms is “to maintain the rate very low, make a tiny revenue, and transfer as much as we can to support everybody out,” defined Shea. “We’re not searching for a massive revenue.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baron discovered it uncomplicated to provide at farmers marketplaces and regional craft fairs, like the Scituate Art Pageant.
“People would just occur up to my desk, and I would have a smaller jar with a small taste spoons and [the customers] would style it and then get 4 or five jars. But now mainly because of COVID, I just can’t allow samples, but we do have 340 standard clients,” she discussed. “I like likely to farmers marketplaces. You satisfy so lots of actually great men and women that are so down to earth. It’s just a distinctive lifestyle.”
Rizzo Farms honey can also be discovered in 11 area establishments like Belmont Marketplaces and Dino’s, as very well as a couple components merchants and cigar outlets. Honey can also be acquired by making contact with Baron right at [email protected]. 1 pound jars of uncooked honey price $12, honey sticks in a variety of flavors are $.50 each and every, and wood drizzlers are $1.
“We select up little spots listed here and there, and feel it or not, some quaint minor sites promote the greatest,” Shea said. “You assume Dino’s getting a grocery retailer would outsell a ton of these other locations, but I have found the components retail store sells the finest out of all people.”
Equally Shea and Baron are passionate about saving the bees. The best action to just take toward preserving bee populations is to cease spraying weed killers and pesticides in the backyard.
Shea advises people to place up birdhouses, welcoming more birds into the property to choose treatment of undesired bugs like ticks and grubs. Baron encourages men and women to plant bouquets, like black-eyed Susans and daisies. Even trying to keep dandelions all-around is useful to bees. If dandelions will have to be taken off, Shea invites people to pour boiling water on the plants as an alternative of harmful chemical substances.
“That’s the unhappy section,” he claimed. “We have most people spreading pesticides to eliminate all the bugs that they really do not want, but they end up killing all the types we do want.”