Land of Milk and Honey: A History of Vermont Beekeeping
Bill Mares and Ross Conrad
This dramatic history begins in the early 1800’s following the life and times of inspired beekeepers that are the advance guard of a line of notable beekeepers that is to stretch through the decades into modern times. You’ll discover a beekeeping lineage born and raised within a single Vermont county that establishes a continuity of beekeeping knowledge and skill spanning more than a century.
The lineage of beekeeping concludes in the present day as apiculturists throughout the world face some of the most challenging times in over 200 years. Is it possible that by reflecting on the history of Vermont’s beekeepers we can find clues about what is needed to help the honey bee thrive today and well into the future?
Land of Milk and Honey also explores the relationship between the people of Vermont and the countryside they inhabit: a land and people that shift and change through the decades in ways that directly impact the health and well-being of bees and its beekeepers. n
The best part of this book, however, is the authors' intimate association with their topic, not only the bees of Vermont, but the people who keep them there. They are both long-time residents of the state so have that going for them. That Ross writes for us on a regular basis is only a plus, and that we published Bill’s book Bees Besieged several years ago kind of ties us all together.
That, and the fact that I’ve actually been around long enough to have experienced some of these events, attended the meetings and have known many of their heroes, and of course those that weren’t.
Bill and Ross examine many of the early writers, most of which you will be unfamiliar with, but should be. They examine commercial beekeeping in the state, associations over time, and even the history of the Inspectors who called Vermont home.
Of course the Mraz family gets attention. Charles, a commercial beekeeper who made several advancements in beekeeping, including the fume board, made a mark in the Apitherapy world too. His son continues the family bee business there. And Kirk Webster is part of the story, as is Mike Palmer, EAS Conferences, the government and inspectors, and the commercial and hobby beekeepers….
Vermont, in many, many ways is a microcosm of beekeeping in America. The Land of Milk and Honey is rich in both beekeeping history and personalities. It’s now in my library and it is a must for collectors of our past.