Beekeeping for the Donovan family is certainly a family affair!  Peter Donovan’s father was a small commercial beekeeper.  He passed on his love of bees and his beekeeping knowledge to his son, as well as one small hive eight years ago.  Now Peter, Megan, and their three children have around 200 hives spread across their land as well as seven bee yards throughout Western Goochland.  The bees on their property enjoy 50 acres full of nectar sources like tulip poplars, clover, holly bushes, aster, wildflowers and the flowering crops in their small family garden.
Peter and Megan met in high school in Goochland.  Megan teachers first grade in the county.  Peter, who always has a spare hive box in his truck, works as a forester for a local electric company.  It has come in handy numerous times for safely removing swarms and bringing them home!  The whole Donovan family pitches in to make the honey production possible.  Peter focuses on hive maintenance and honey extraction, while Megan handles marketing, selling, and creating their beeswax products.  The kids, aged eight, five, and two, move and clean boxes and eat their fair share of the rewards from the family’s efforts! Their Facebook page features the bees at work, their delectable local honey, and the family enjoying their beautiful Goochland property. 
Beekeeping work varies by the season.  In late June the Donovans were busy removing about 20-60 pounds of honey PER HIVE!  It is hot, sticky work!  They stack 10 hives at a time for the extraction process.  The golden goodness is collected into large tanks before it is drained, transferred to smaller buckets, and then finally poured into different sized bottles for eager customers!  Right now Peter is busy checking the weight of hives and feeding the bees supplemental sugar water if needed.  He’s checking for varroa mites, the biggest pest for honeybees.  Finally, He’s tipping the boxes forward to avoid water collection and combining some hives if necessary to ensure adequate nutrition through the winter.  Then they leave them “bee” until the Spring! 🐝
Farmers Market customers, as well as retail stores in both Goochland and Richmond love Donovan Apiaries!  Many regulars report using their honey in place of refined sugar for their favorite baking recipes, including sticky sweet delicious baklava of course!  Family and friends always welcome honey-inspired appetizers the Donovans bring to special gatherings, like the simple treat of honey with brie and crackers.
Many customers are partial to their creamed honey with their cinnamon version being in especially high demand this time of year!  Others prefer their chunk honey which really connects customers to the beloved bees who worked so hard to make the sweet treat!  Honey is such a quintessential gift by itself or in a dish because it remains a fascinating gooey, golden natural source of sweetness that virtually everyone adores!  Plus, it’s versatility gives it tremendous appeal!
Enjoy some honey from this local Goochland family who carves out time in their busy lives for their beekeeping passion.  A gift of honey, as well as their natural and chocolate orange truffle beeswax lip balms, makes everyone happy!