Georgia Magazine - September 2013 - (Page 58)

The beauty of beekeeping These hardworking insects keep Georgia’s agriculture buzzing BY JENNA SAXON 58 bees so they can help farmers produce the food you and I will eat.” Crosby hopes that through his involvement with the Georgia Grown program, others will begin to realize the important role that bees play in our food industry and better understand the nutritional benefits of honey. Grant  Giddens, of Dahlonega, originally  started  beekeeping as a hobby, but it became a full-time business venture when he founded Atlanta Honey Co. in 2011. The company is based in Atlanta, but operations extend far across the mountains of North Georgia.  Giddens  agrees that many consumers are unaware of the health benefits of honey.  “Eating  and cooking with natural raw honey is an essential ingredient  in leading a healthy lifestyle,” he says.  “Honey can replace sugar in most recipes, providing beneficial and nourishing energy enhancers not found in conventional sweeteners.”  More online at ANDREW EVERETT ANDREW EVERETT I t is widely known that agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry, contributing more than $70 billion to the state’s economy each year. What is not so well-known is that millions of these dollars are generated by  one of Georgia’s emerging industries: beekeeping. Beekeeping, or apiculture, is composed of honey production, hive products and pollination.  Georgia is home to more than 2,000 hobby and commercial beekeepers, ranking 14th in honey production and second in queen and package production in the United States. Nearly one-third of the food consumed in the United States is the direct result of pollination by insects and honeybees. In fact, more than 100 agricultural crops in the U.S. are pollinated by bees. To put this into perspective, consumers would lose one out of every three mouthfuls of food without the help of bees. Beekeepers can be found all over the state, with retail shops located in North, Central and South Georgia. These commercial beekeepers produce bees, honey and honey byproducts year-round. Weeks Honey Farm in Omega is a fourth-generation operation that has grown over the past 52 years from a two-hive beekeeping hobby to a 5,000-hive business. The company has developed into a thriving agribusiness with products in more than 200 retail locations including a retail store onsite. “We hope people can appreciate, just as they do in other agricultural products, that there are still people out there who are passionate about making quality honey,” says Ray Crosby, vice president of Weeks Honey Farm. “For us, it is about making sure we are good stewards of the At top and above: Ray Crosby of Weeks Honey Farm in Omega checks hives for honey production. GEORGIA MAGAZINE

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - September 2013

Georgia Magazine - September 2013
Liberty Notes
Picture This?
Georgia News
Calendar of Events
Georgia’s Energy Outlook
From Rural Georgia to the Governor’s Mansion
Buried Treasure
Celebrating 75 Years in the Community
Lessons for Learning
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Georgia Gardens
Georgia Cooks

Georgia Magazine - September 2013