It’s all about the flowers or more specifically the diversity of flowers. The more different types of flowers, the better it is for bees. A diversity of nectar and pollen sources found in the different species lead to good health for bee hives. When bees are healthy and happy, they pollinate more crops and make more honey. And more honey makes longtime beekeeper Victoria Ranua and her husband Todd very happy. They opened Eagle Creek Honey Farm in 2014 in Shakopee where they build and brand their own bee boxes, harvest their own honey, and manage a small orchard which the bees pollinate.
As a child when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Victoria had no doubt. She would answer, “I want to be a beekeeper and have an apple orchard!” As a youth in the Twin Cities suburbs, she didn’t know anyone with bees or even an apple tree, but that didn’t stop her. She always enjoyed watching bumblebees on the flowers in the neighborhood, and she even drank a whole bottle of honey before every high school cross-country and track race for energy.
With a childhood nickname of Vicki, other children teased her as her name rhymed with too many less popular options. The name that bothered her the most was “Sticky Vicki.” Years later, tending 100 suburban hives, she realized she had indeed become “Sticky Vicki” when she dropped a five gallon pail of honey from a ladder, covering herself in honey!
Today, Victoria and her family live at Eagle Creek Honey Farm in Shakopee, Minn. With more than 10 years of professional suburban beekeeping experience, Sticky Vicki loves sharing her passion for bees and the uniqueness of the Minnesota-grown honey with anyone who will listen or have a taste.
Come see Eagle Creek Honey Farm at Three River Park District’s Landing on August 1 and 2 for an 1880s style honey harvest and see that not much has changed.
A few facts about locally produced honey:
- Winter is why honeybees make honey. It's their winter energy source.
- Scott County has several other honey producers: Forest and Meadow Products (Shakopee), Wozupi (City of Prior Lake), Slinkard Honey (New Prague), and Sweetness of Being (CPL).
- Honey is the only food that will not rot! It can last thousands of years.
- Propolis is another bee product known since ancient times for its antibiotic and antiseptic properties, according to Andrew Weil, MD, an American medical doctor, teacher, and best-selling author on holistic health. Propolis is available through Forest and Meadow Products (Shakopee).
Tessa Lehto is a Shakopee resident and garden enthusiast. This article is funded in part by Scott County’s Statewide Health Initiative Plan to promote healthy eating in the county and Local Harvest Alliance to promote awareness of local foods. Comments or Ideas? Contact me at email@example.com.