On Friday, July 6, Leeanne Burton from Col-lee Farm Hunny attended the Downtown Fridays Farmers Market in Slave Lake. Burton says she found out about the market from a friend she attends different markets with.
“I’ve never been to Slave Lake before, but I’m always up for an adventure and it is not that far from the city [Edmonton].”
Col-lee Farm Hunny is located in Edmonton Alta.
“I got introduced to honeybees back in 1989 when I came to Canada from Australia to study Canadian agriculture.”
Burton says the farm runs about 500 hives and the bees are on pasture land with clover and wildflowers. She explains that the bees are on pasture land because of canola and the amounts of pesticides being used in modern day agriculture.
Burton states aside from pesticides there is still a problem with the endangerment of bees. She says some of the reason is due to climate change(s).
“This winter was an extremely cold winter, which we haven’t seen for about an odd 20 years.”
Burton says if the bees do not receive daytime heat so they can go out, they will start defecating in their own hives.
It becomes a little bit like dysentery, a disease caused by several infectious pathogens such as bacteria, virus, and parasites, says, Burton.
“If a bee gets diarrhea, the whole colony gets it, and it could affect a whole yard, being 30 to 40 hives.”
Burton reveals her favourite part of the honey business is being on the road and selling the honey. She explains how she is quite a people person and gets to talk to lots of people.
Depending on the weather, bee season starts in April and if there is no snow, the hives can be unwrapped to see if the bees need food.
Burton mentions that bees like it around 25 or 26 degrees, but to go out to fly they only need about 15 degrees.
“If we warmed up bees too soon and they actually had a brood or two on the go they could get chilled and would not make it back [to the hive] and can die.”
One of the big sellers from Col-ee Farm Hunny is the flavoured honey. Burton created it honey when her children were young so they had something different to put on their pancakes, waffles, and toast instead of using sugar-based syrups.
“My kids’ favourite is banana flavour, but I particularly like the ginger one because you can cook with it. I put it on fish and in stir-frys,” says Burton.
Col-lee Farm Honey started back in 2000, and the flavoured honey was introduced in 2010.
Burton says if you are looking for a pure natural honey, then look no further.
Burton says she had a positive experience at the Slave Lake market and plans on coming back.
Leeanne Burton, sales and marketing for Col-lee Farm Hunny.