Beekeepers gather to celebrate, promote their craft, Feb. 17

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Polk County is abuzz with new beekeepers, and on Feb. 17, beekeepers old and new will gather in Tryon to celebrate their craft. A reception and film screening will be offered for free thanks to the Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development and Slow Foods Asheville Foothills.

Free appetizers and a tasting of mead and honey beer will be available to the public at 5:30 p.m. at La Bouteille. Following the reception, at 7 p.m. the Tryon Theatre will host a free screening of the film More Than Honey, a documentary highlighting the plight of bees and beekeepers from around the world.

“Beekeeping is an important and engaging craft,” says Agricultural Outreach Coordinator Alex Rike. “We are trying to promote beekeeping in Polk County and encourage new beekeepers to take it up.”

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The celebration is part of an initiative to connect local beekeepers and provide missing support within the county.

Support for beekeepers is growing in Polk County. Last spring, the Office of Agricultural Economic Development and the Mill Spring Agricultural Center began offering equipment rentals for beekeepers. A honey extractor and related tools are offered to beekeepers at a nominal cost.

“Often, these tools are too expensive for the beekeeper with just one or two hives, but they save a heck of a lot of time. It’s great that we can offer them to the community,” said Mill Spring Agricultural Center Director Patrick McLendon.

As the word gets out, the Mill Spring Agricultural Center and the Office of Agricultural Economic Development hope these programs continue to grow.

“Beekeeping is such a wonderful thing, and the film screening and reception is a way to share that enthusiasm with the community.”

The film screening and reception is Tuesday, Feb. 17 and is free to the public. The reception is at La Bouteille beginning at 5:30 p.m., and the film will be shown at the Tryon Theatre at 7 p.m. La Bouteille is at 10 N. Trade St. in Tryon.