I hopped out of the van at Adelaide Apiary, Mike and Laurie Pauls’s Mays Road farm.
We were there for a refill on the honey jar we’d bought a month ago. Laurie greeted me and motioned for us to walk to her shop. “This is the best honey I’ve ever tasted,” I told her. Sounds smarmy but I was being honest. I’m an eat-it-straight-from-the-jar honey lover. This is good stuff.
The shop was closed for the winter, but opening soon. There were jam jars on the shelves, scales, tables for fruits and veg. “We sell blueberries in the summer too.” Laurie took my jar and walked over to a big steel container that looked like a coffee dispenser but about 10 times the size. Sweet, sweet honey; a massive warm vat of it.
As she flipped up the tap to fill my jar, I imagined pushing her to one side and sticking my mouth under it. Winne-the-Pooh eat your heart out. What she said next slapped me out of my sticky daydream, “All our bees are dead.” Apparently, this winter some mysterious virus swept over Vancouver Island killing nearly every bee in its path. From Parksville to Victoria, few bees have survived. “Our new bees arrive tomorrow,” Laurie reassured me, having noted my horrified expression.
She weighed my jar and totaled the bill. I had $20 in hand (anticipating that’s what it would cost for that much honey). “$6.75 please.” Amazing value. She handed me my freshly poured jar of warm honey upon which I cupped my cold hands. Liquid gold, and given the tragedy, just about as precious.
How to get there
Call for hours: 250-701-4238