Prepared: November 29, 2008
“We want everybody who works here to be able to answer your questions” said John Gibeau when asked about his farm philosophy and approach to the business. The Honeybee Centre, located on 176 Street in the busy area of Highway 15 and the Fraser Highway, is a favourite stop for many people looking for “one crop source” honey. There can be as many as 13 employees at this farm and if you are interested in the products and activities of the energetic and helpful honeybee, it’s a good place to go.
The Gibeau’s are a 13th generation farm family with roots back to Samuel de Champlain. “Our family has always had bees” said John, “but my father was a dairy farmer too. He was taught his bee skills by a Quebec monk”. John’s current farm is 10 acres in size and he started his commercial bee operation in 2000. “We really have three operations here” said John. “The pollination side of our business is pretty important. We bring in about 6000 bee colonies from Alberta to help with pollination for the blueberry farmers. Then we have our own honey retail sales”. You might be surprised to know that another one-third of the Honeybee Centre’s business is health related. “We do a lot of bee therapy” John explained. “A lot of people use bees to treat wounds, attack sore throats and generally to keep themselves healthy”.
John takes extra care in his operation to make sure his bees make “one source” honey. And there are a lot of varieties to be had. This past year, squash honey was a good source. Normally honey is gathered over a four to five week bloom cycle. “We move our bees at night” John said. “That way they are all inside the hive and we make sure they are located where the crop we want nectar from is right handy when the bees start work in the morning”.
“We are usually involved whenever the movie industry does something involving bees” John mentioned. “But it isn’t a big part of what we do although certainly an interesting one. Basically my wife and I really like the idea of using our own food and we like using a natural product for healing and for vitamins. Bees have been helping people since medieval times” John stated.