Buzz Worthy: an interview with Madelyn Morris from Mickelberry Gardens

by Shopify API on 07 August, 2013

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Bringing ethically crafted products into our Queen Bee hive continues to be a fun and enlightening experience. Mickelberry Gardens is one of the new lines we’re carrying here at the shop! From practicing organic farming methods to creating the most delectable concoctions for beauty and health, these guys ROCK. Here are some of their goodies we’ve currently got in stock:

Raw Honey and Sugar Body Scrub/ $16

Happy Baby Salve/ $12

Love Your Lips Balm/ $5

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Here is a snippet of our chat with Madelyn Morris, co-owner of Mickelberry Gardens, enjoy!

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QB- Your commitment to organic beekeeping practices and sustainability is impressive! Could you explain a little how you manage to keep your operation running without blasting the planet with toxins?

Madelyn- A big part of our mission is to raise bees organically, without using hive treatments such as antibiotics or miticides. We also support other beekeepers who are treatment-free. This can be a challenge, as honeybees are unfortunately susceptible to lots of different pests and infections. Many beekeepers raising bees commercially rely on these treatments, because for most commercial beekeepers, a big part of their business is crop pollination. This means that while the bees are doing their job they are exposed to lots of pesticides, fungicides, and even pathogens from other honeybees.

Despite these setbacks in keeping bees organically, we believe that decreasing reliance on antibiotics and miticides, and reducing our bees exposure to crop pesticides as much as we possibly can is going to result in stronger bees over the long run. All of the raw honey and beeswax used in our product line is sourced from treatment-free local beekeepers.

QB- Is anyone on your staff allergic to bees? What’s the best way to heal a bee sting? I’m guessing it might not be meat tenderizer, but maybe it is…

M- I am very sensitive to bee stings - I swell A LOT with even just one sting - a sting to my wrist will make my entire arm puff up. It’s rather unpleasant. A small percentage of people are bona-fide allergic to honeybee stings, where they’ll go into anaphylaxis if they get stung. We always keep an epi-pen on hand in case this ever happens to someone. A much larger portion of people are sensitive to bee stings, and experience lingering swelling and pain if they get stung. Other people experience very little swelling and redness, but a bee sting hurts pretty bad no matter who you are! We’ve found that if there’s a lot of swelling, ice, rest, and taking Benadryl are good treatments. Once the itching begins, a beeswax salve that has plantain leaf (Plantago major - not the banana relative) helps a lot. Honeybee venom can even be therapeutic for lots of different health conditions - arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and scars are just a few of the conditions that might be improved with bee sting therapy.

QB- Can people come visit your apiary and say hello to your bees? Do you ever offer tours?

M- Apiary visitors are usually our beekeeping helpers and volunteers. Matt the beekeeper leads “apiary experiences” for people who want to get a hands-on experience with the bees. This is great for people who are interested in keeping bees and want to get a feel for what they’re getting into, or people who are drawn to honeybees and want to get a closer look inside a hive.

QB- Any new products you guys are concocting we should be looking out for?

M- We have been working on a honey beeswax soap, which we hope to make available this fall! We also have a beeswax-based sunscreen in the works.

QB- In your opinion, what are the top three benefits/qualities of honey?

M- I think the most amazing quality of honey is how much variety it can have, depending on what types of plants the bees are foraging nectar from. All honey carries these floral essences, and trace minerals from the soil where the plants were growing. Raw honey is a wonderful digestive tonic, a daily spoonful can soothe all kinds of belly complaints. And my favorite way to use honey is as a medium for other plant medicines - it’s sweetness helps herbs be more palatable and delicious, and it works to bring the herbs deeper into the body’s tissues.


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