MAYVILLE - Beekeepers from all over Chautauqua County gathered at the Mayville Lakeside Park for their annual picnic. They are all part of the Chautauqua County Beekeepers Association.
This is not just a small hobby they indulge in a few times a month; they have to maintain their colonies by spending a few hours a week on them. One of the Chautauqua County Beekeepers, Laura LaMonica, started beekeeping eight years ago.
"In Ulster County, I took a class from a beekeeper in the wintertime," LaMonica said. "It got me interested in this for a hobby."
OBSERVER Photos by Jennifer Peters
Alyssa Fine, 2012 American Honey Queen, shares her love for being a beekeeper and her honey recipes with the president of the Chautauqua County Beekeepers Association. From left to right: Fine (Queen), Sam Radicella (president), Linda Radicella.
Laura and Dennis LaMonica spend three to four hours a week on maintaining the bee colonies. They currently have 15 colonies and hope to keep expanding as the years go on.
Sam Radicella, President of the Chautauqua County Beekeepers Association, has been president for 12 years, but a beekeeper for 22.
"I had a friend that had bees," Radicella said. "He asked me if I wanted some for my garden to pollinate, and I've been beekeeping ever since."
His wife and children are very involved as well; his son, Nathan, helps Radicella move the hives, and his daughter Nicky, assists by extracting the honey.
Alyssa Fine, the 2012 American Honey Queen, shared with the Chautauqua County Beekeepers Association not only her passion for being a full-time beekeeper but also her honey recipes. "My father has been a beekeeper since before I was born," Fine stated. "It was his hobby for many years, and he would even give presentations about honey bees at my school." Since Fine was 8, she has been the main beekeeper of her household.
Fine just graduated from Penn State with a degree in agricultural business management. Her hopes for the future are to pursue beekeeping and grow the family business. Fine also has many different honey recipes as well, which vary from honey white chocolate cookies to honey mustard roasted potatoes. Her sisters have also assisted her with taking the processed bee wax and making hand cream, lip balm, face wash and even candles.
Beekeeping is not only a hobby for some people, but a profession as well. For Fine, she plans on beekeeping years down the road and informing others about it. "Jobs are all based on numbers and facts it seems now," Fine stated. "With beekeeping, you work with your hands, and you see results. Everyone can do it, and for most of the ingredients for the recipes, you'll already have them in your kitchen."
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