We are Jeannie and Terry Ross, living in the Union Hill Community of Cherokee County, who started beekeeping in 1994 with two bee hives. We have slowly made our love of honey bees and beekeeping into a small business selling honey, beeswax candles and beekeeping supplies. In 2011 we became a Georgia Certified Farm Market and sell our products from our honey house on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 2PM until 6PM.
For the past three years we have started teaching beekeeping in our honey house classroom area. Our classes are offered in a series of three classes starting in February and are spread out through the spring and summer. This way you are not overwhelmed by a year's worth of information given by most beekeeping courses in a 6 to 8 hour day. The classes are held on a Saturday from 10AM - 2PM and include lunch. You can go to www.honeybeeexperience.com for more information.
An apiary is the Latin word for "honey bee yard" and we keep bees in Cherokee and Pickens counties. We only have about 25 hives now since the summer and late fall of 2009 when we were hit hard by Colony Collapse Disorder and lost most of our 100 hives. It has become harder and harder to keep honey bees but we keep trying because it is something that we both love.
For the past several years we have been planting blueberries, blackberries, muscadines, scuppernongs, strawberries and figs getting ready to open a U-Pick farm. In 2014 we will have U-Pick for our blackberries and next year will open the blueberries for U-Pick. Our strawberries will take another year or two before they are ready since we are planting them in hanging half barrels (no bending over or slugs to deal with). All of our berries and vegetables are organically grown as we add only our composted leaves and grass clippings to our garden soil each year. We use no pesticides on any of our berries, vegetables or flowers. Should we need to keep insects from eating our plants, we lightly dust the foliage (not the blossoms) with Garden Sulfur. This does not kill the insects but makes them not want to eat on the leaves. We ask all of you not to use Seven Dust as the bees think it is pollen and take it back to the hive and it can kill the entire hive. If you have to use Seven then use Liquid Seven and spray at dusk when the honey bees have gone back to their hive for the day and only spray the foliage not the blossoms.
Several years ago we joined the Cherokee County Farm Bureau where we volunteer lots of our time promoting agriculture, primarily honey and honey bees in schools, senior citizen centers, garden clubs and other civic clubs where people are interested in learning about honey bees. It is vitally important for the public to understand just how important farmers and honey bees are to mankind. The Cherokee County Farm Bureau is always in need of more volunteers so please step up and volunteer some of your time to help us promote agriculture in our schools.
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Ross Berry Farm and Apiaries, Inc.
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