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Saturday, March 23 News

Weston beekeeper shares experience, tips for beginners

WESTON — For local author and Red Bee Honey founder Carla Marina Marchese, beekeeping is more than just a hobby.

That’s why she offers educational classes, tastings and workshops on the subject within the comforts of her barn in Weston, including one recently held on March 10.

Marchese took 20 adults on a journey into the world of honeybees, and shared tips to those desiring to get involved with beekeeping.

Through her Beekeeping 101 workshop offered through Westport’s Continuing Education, those wishing to become more educated about basic beekeeping practices, learn everything from setting up the first hive to honey harvesting and everything in between.

Marchese is determined to change the way people taste and think about honey.

“It is very important to know the basics of beekeeping and the safety measures,” Marchese said.

Marchese traces her beekeeping passion to 2000, when she started it as a hobby. During a former career as an international designer, Marchese unexpectedly visited a neighbor’s apiary, where she tasted fresh honey for the first time.

That experience would change her life.

After that, she quit her job, built a beehive and acquired some Italian honeybees to become a beekeeper. She bought the appropriate equipment — frames and a foundation to make a beehive, a hive tool, a smoker, veil and gloves, and a feeder.

Throughout the workshop, Marchese answered questions from attendees, including how often a colony needs to be fed.

During the spring and summer, when the bees are released during the warmer temperatures, they find food through various plants and flowers such as pollen and nectar, Marchese said.

After the workshop, that lasted nearly three hours, participants went into the downstairs portion of the barn, where Marchese had shelves full of merchandise.

Marchese sells honey jars, with a selection of over 20 flavors to choose from. Also for sale are skin products that include lip balm, facial cream, Honeybee Butter Balm, soap and more.

Additionally, Marchese offers a honey of the month club in which members receive a surprise flavored bottle of pure honey, a tasting scorecard and honey color chart.

Marchese has also authored two books on beekeeping: “Honeybee Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper,” and “The Honey Connoisseur Selecting, Tasting, and Pairing Honey,” co-authored with Bee Culture Magazine editor Kim Flottum.

She has appeared on BCTV’s “The Chew,” “The Untitled Action Bronson Show” on Viceland, and “Edible Nutmeg On the Road.”

Marchese says it’s easy to sum up her experience — “Basically, Red Bee began as a gourmet food business online only and as a beekeeping hobby in 2000, before we had farmers markets or many female beekeepers.”

For information on Red Bee Honey, visit www.redbee.com/

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