It may be January but that isn’t stopping one local farmer from producing honey. Keeping the hive thriving during the colder months may be difficult, but it provides residents homegrown honey.
Ed Cook from Cook’s Berry Junction Farm in Liberal works to produce something that takes more than a little effort: his own honey. He’s been beekeeping on and off for almost 10 years. Cook adds to be a year-round beekeeper, you must find good balance between how much honey you can take and how much to leave for your bees.
“The average hive, you want to leave 90 to 100 pounds of honey in there for the bees to have to eat to get through the winter. If you are a careless beekeeper, and you take too much honey, in the winter time, they’ll starve to death,” says Ed Cook.
Raising his own bees, especially during colder months, isn’t an easy task. Cook has built multiple hives around the county, making sure to take extra steps like putting food sources close to their hives. That ensures they have enough to last the winter.
“We make up what we call a candy board. It is just a box like structure, the same size as a hive. In that we put sugar, with some pollen and some other stuff mixed in it, put it on the hive to get the bees through the winter,” says Cook.
Cook sells his comb in and pure raw honey at the Empire Market in Joplin every Saturday. And he says that the taste of this locally sourced honey is worth the time he takes to harvest it.
“People that know the difference, there is no comparison to the honey you are gonna get from your local beekeeper compared to what you’re gonna get at the store,” says Cook.