Country Parson Honey
1. Is there really a "Country Parson"?
Yes, there is! The Country Parson is also the Rector at The Episcopal Church in Garrett County, Maryland. We invite you to visit him and his churches at www.episcopalchurchingarrettcounty.org.
2. Have you been keeping bees for a long time?
No, not really. We began our beekeeping efforts in 2010, with... mixed results! With the harsh winters here in the Allegheny Highlands, this was an unfortunate, but not necessarily unexpected outcome of our early efforts. We have regrouped, retrained and grown a bit and have had successful years from 2014 - 2016 thanks to our increased number of hives and better weather over the summers. We now manage over 25 hives in southern Garrett County, Maryland and two locations in West Virginia.
3. How do you go about becoming a beekeeper?
Acquiring the basic skills and equipment to begin keeping bees is neither hard nor expensive. Most towns and cities have university extension offices that can help beginners and many more areas than you might think have beekeeping clubs or associations. Beekeepers are a lot like bees; they like to hang out together and talk about what they're doing. Our own Country Parson will be teaching a beginning beekeepers class in 2017 at Garrett College Continuing Education Department.
4. Aren't you afraid you'll get stung?
Getting stung is part of the deal with beekeeping, though that's not to say it happens a lot. European Honeybees, the non-native species of bees kept for honey production or pollination here in the States, have only one sting and thus are pretty reluctant to use it unless they feel a direct threat - like a bear! Otherwise they tend to be pretty docile as long as you observe a few simple rules about working (or walking) near them.
5. How many hives does the Country Parson have?
As of the Spring of 2017, Country Parson Honey manages over 25 hives in Maryland and West Virginia. We have also partnered with Round Right Farm, BackBone Mountain Food Farm and Red Shamrock Llamas for bee hive locations.
6. How did you start making candles?
Making candles out of beeswax seemed a natural outgrowth of keeping bees. Initially we thought we could use our own wax left over from pulling honey, but it turned out that we didn't have enough. So we contacted a beekeeping supply company. They also aggregated beeswax from lots of beekeepers to sell it. We began buying beeswax in bulk in 2013 as an experiment and had such a good response from our customers that we expanded our candle-making efforts. More beeswax products and handicrafts will be available soon at our Our Online Store!
7. Are all your candles made of beeswax?
Yes, but proportions are different for different candles. Our container candles are 100% beeswax. However, beeswax is a very soft material and not particularly well suited for molded or dipped candles. We make our molded candles with just enough paraffin to harden them for handling and long burning life. Our molded candles are about 75% beeswax and 25% paraffin.
8. Do you make scented candles?
Absolutely! Although we started out with unscented candles, we now offer scents such as Lemon Lavender, Balsam Pine and Citronella - a perennial spring and summer favorite since it also acts as an insect repellant. We also offer seasonal scents, especially "Autumn Glory", named for our nationally famous fall festival!