Gina and Aubrey - Queen Farina
Photography provided by Chelsea Scanlan
This is the second article in my Maker’s blog series. Meet sisters Aubrey and Gina with Queen Farina! As with Daniel of Split Woodworks, I first met them at the 2017 Spring Silobration in Waco, Texas. You can find their natural goods in several of my gift boxes, including my “Sweet Honey” gift box.
Look for Aubrey and Gina online at their website Queen Farina. They named their business after their mother; she’s always been their queen bee so they say it just made sense to name it after her! You can also find them on instagram @queenfarina, and they were just at the Magnolia Market Fall Silobration in Waco, Texas this past weekend.
HOW WE STARTED
We're often asked what got us started with beekeeping. To be honest, it was a spontaneous decision after our mom brought home some honeycomb given to her by a friend. I, (Aubrey), thought, wow, you can really just have a beehive in your backyard? So, what did I do? I called up Gina to see if she was crazy enough to try it with me. It seemed like a logical decision, after all, what a great teaching tool for our children, right? Gina was game, no questions asked. We had no idea what we were getting into or how many times we'd be stung.
We bought two hives, lit up our smoker, and watched a bajillion YouTube videos on beekeeping. One of us would be working with the bees while the other one read directions from our beekeeping book. We're not too proud to mention that it's not much different than that today. If there's one thing we have learned, it's that beekeeping is like raising children and raising children is like herding cats.
We didn't come from a long line of beekeepers. We had no idea what we were doing...we still don't! But our father taught us that we could do anything we put our minds to. I'm not sure that raising bees was what he had in mind, but I'm sure he's watching over us from above and at least laughing at/with us. At the end of the day, if our children have learned how to work hard and understand how to sacrifice for something they believe in, then we'll consider it a good day.
As cool as we like to think we are, we realize we're just a small part of a greater good. Even the most minimal contributions in the same direction can make a big change. While we continue to work toward a more sustainable future through natural beekeeping practices, we also support others' efforts in beekeeping and honeybee promotion. By supporting each other we can continue to work for a common goal...the bees. Without them, well, we don't have anything left to work for.
OUR METHODS RAW AND REAL
When it comes to food, Italians don't mess around. We value high quality honey from the strong colonies that have worked so hard to create it. Our honey is never pasteurized or filtered, only lightly strained to remove unwanted particles. You can expect there will be traces of pollen, propolis, beeswax, enzymes, minerals and all other natural goodness in your bottle of honey. Production is overseen by a distinguished queen bee and we do our best to preserve all that the colony has worked for. With the help of beekeepers throughout Utah, we are able to bring you the finest raw honey from the Beehive State!
COME JOIN OUR TABLE
Our two families are joined by sisters with a crazy love for fresh, whole foods, sunshine and beekeeping. We come from a long line of Italians that love to cook and eat. We live in the kitchen and start cooking the next meal before we've finished the last. If you have a love for food and eating like we do, then you've come to the right place! Our honey is raw, natural, and delicious. You've come here to partake...welcome to the family!
KEEPERS OF BEES
We have learned that beekeeping is like raising children. There are a million different ways to do it and everyone has a different opinion. Beekeeping techniques are also largely dependent on the scale of beekeeping. While we continue to grow, we remain teachable in our beekeeping techniques, hoping to provide a more sustainable future for our little ladies. Being Certified Natural Growers has taught us ways to promote safe and natural beekeeping on land free of chemicals. And while it isn't possible for all of our honey to be created on such land, we will continue to educate others on how we all contribute to the welfare of our pollinators.
The world's population of honeybees has been on a steady decline over the past several years. There are multiple contributing factors. The growing use of pesticides on crops that the honeybees use for pollen and nectar foraging, the overuse of antibiotics and other chemicals in hives to treat and prevent bee diseases, and the diseases themselves, are all to blame.
We need bees, and I don't mean just us beekeepers...you need them too! Honey is usually the first thing that most people think about ceasing to exist with the disappearance of honeybees. Not only would we have no honey, but we would have no propolis, royal jelly or beeswax! Did you know that 30% of our crops worldwide and up to 80% of the U.S. food supply depends on pollinators such as honeybees? Without honeybees many of the fruits and vegetables that we all love would become nonexistent. Can you imagine a world without apples, avocados....or almonds?!
These gals live their lives providing us humans with many necessities that most of us take for granted...but bees have needs too! We want to give back to our tiny buddies for their service to us. Queen Farina has created the Bee's Kneeds Campaign to communicate the ways in which we are helping our pollinators, as well as give you ideas of how you can help!
What we're doing:
- We are beekeepers, honey bottlers, and the ones educating and entertaining you on this website! We are just crazy Italian sisters with fams, promoting bees any way we can!
- We educate our customers on the importance of keeping our winged girlies around through the use of social media, newsletters, this website and special invitations through which local customers get the opportunity to participate in one of our apiary inspections!
- We take extensive measures to protect our bees during the cold winter months so the colonies remain strong and thriving all year long.
- We provide pollinator-friendly forage for our honeybees and encourage you to do the same!
- With your support, we will do our part to increase the population of honeybees by adding colonies to our apiary each year.
- We partner with other Utah beekeepers to support more colonies and meet the demands of the best “darn” honey from the Beehive State! What you can do to help:
- Educate yourself on the importance of saving our honeybees, then spread the word!
- Reduce, or even better, eliminate your use of insecticides.
- Plant a bee-friendly garden.
- Protect existing bee habitats.
- Support all beekeepers who are working towards a common purpose, protecting our bees.