Wondering what to get your honey for Valentine’s Day? Well how about some…honey? And not just any honey, but the local variety from Dina and Thomas Breitschwerd at Hudson River Apiaries in Verplanck (914-734-7178; email@example.com).
Dina handles the business end as well as hand-making the 100-percent-beeswax candles and pure lubricating bars. Thomas is the—highly allergic, mind you—beekeeper, maintaining hives in the lower Hudson Valley around Cortlandt Manor and on the hillsides of Bear Mountain State Park.
Thomas does take his bees as far away as Bangor, Maine, to pollinate blueberries, and western New York to help alfalfa and buckwheat farmers, and he produces honey from these sources. Still, his pride and joy is early-season clover and late-summer wildflower honeys from his locally hived foragers.
Thomas explains that you can’t crowd his ancient genus Carnolian bees—no more than 15 apiaries in a three-mile radius. He also doesn’t “rob the house,” leaving 120 pounds of the golden nectar in the lower brood chamber for the wintering bees, and harvesting
The Breitschwerds sell their honeys, pollen (which has twice as much protein as beef, 96 nutrients, and 22 amino acids), combs, and beeswax products at the Pleasantville, Ossining, and Cold Spring, New York farmers’ markets; Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor; the Buchanan Home Center; and Cole’s Market in Montrose. Or simply give them a call at home (I am not kidding; their business phone and home phone is one and the same) to set up a time to pick up an order at their Verplank house. Be prepared to get an earful of bee lore as well as truly wonderful, natural, and local products.