We are passionately local. We use local fruit in our meads, mostly grown here on our farm and collect local honey from with 20 kms of our farm. Our honey comes from Wild Flowers that grow in the hills behind Sooke. This is the very best food for the bees and has no impact on the surrounding environment. The bees are simply moved onto wild forage, leaving the environment just as we found it. We move our bees as little as possible to maintain their optimal health and well being.
Traditionally many pesticides and chemicals are used to control pest and pathogens in beehives. We are participating in a Canada- wide bee breeding project based on these principles. This is a project created to breed queen bees that will have resistance to various pests and pathogens that are causing high honeybee mortality. This is the best hope to get off of the chemical treadmill that treating with pesticides puts beekeepers in. We have been actively breeding Varoa Sensitive Hygenics into our bee populations for the last 6 years. Although this is a much more labour intensive way to keep bees, it is the right thing to do to ensure that bees are part of our future.
Pests are controlled in our berry pasture with natural sprays made from Marigolds and Copper. We do not use anything else to avoid hurting the bees. Fertilization of crops is done with manure from our animals, seaweeds from the ocean, and wood ash.
Many areas of our farm are left completely natural. This is important for wild pollinators, many of which build their nests in the ground. Over half of our berry and fruit tree crops are pollinated by wild bees.
Bob teaches a beginner and intermediate beekeeping course every year at Royal Roads University. We hope that by promoting knowledge of beekeeping, we can have more beekeepers and bee savvy people sharing this information. Every year in May we celebrate Honey Bee Awareness Day. We open our farm educational tours and bring in other bee experts to help promote knowledge of bees to the public.
Our tasting room and gift shop are certified Green by Vancouver Island Green Business. We are always striving for the best practices in all aspects of our business and were thankful for the great insight this certification brought us. In addition to our other green intiatives we are now recycling all soft plastic, changing all bulbs to LED, have insulated all hot water pipes, and will be joining the CRD Solar Hot Water Program in the next year.
The Green Business Certification Program was developed to help provide a set of tangible actions that businesses can take to tread a little lighter on the environment. Whether it is by improving our buildings energy efficiency, reducing the amount of waste we generate or supporting local charities and non-profit organizations, there are many steps that we are committed to taking to be environmental stewards. Being certified means that we are actively involved in measuring our operational performance while identifying opportunities to improve it and take action. Check out the green certified businesses in Victoria