At Magnolia Roots, supporting our local farmers is something that is near and dear to our hearts. From cultivating a more sustainable future, to meeting the faces behind the food that nourish our families, we hope to foster a community of connection and gratitude for the modern family farm. It is our hope that with this series, we can be an encouragement to their businesses and show our thanks for all that they give to their communities.
This week, we are honored to introduce you to Josh and Rebekah and their family business, Harris Honey. Their beekeeping journey started like many family farms: as a hobby. We've really enjoyed getting to know more about their love for bees as well as their humble and family-centered approach to their business. If you happen to be in Saint Petersburg, FL, you can see their local market schedule on their website www.harrishoney.com. Check out their interview below!
I am Josh Harris. I am an urban beekeeper in the city of St. Petersburg, Fl. I keep bees in backyards and on local business properties right in the city. Together with my wife Rebekah and our six kids, we have a family-run honey business called Harris Honey. Since all the honey is made in the city, it could not be more local to our customers.
I began keeping bees in our backyard as a hobby about 10 years ago with one colony. I enjoyed working with the bees so much that I kept getting more bees and soon had more honey than our family could eat. We began giving honey to family and friends and the word got out. Everyone wanted local raw honey. We started a sideline business called Harris Honey a couple years ago and we have not been able to keep up with the demand for our honey.
I enjoy working with bees. That is the main reason I do it. It is a great escape to open a bee colony and experience the sights, sounds and scents of a happy and healthy colony of bees as they are busy at work. I look forward to working our bees and when they are doing well, it is my greatest reward in the business.
Keeping bees healthy and alive is a great challenge these days. Between mites that spread viruses, pesticides, herbicides, and various diseases, there is a lot that can go wrong. There have been a couple times when we have lost all of our bees and had to start over. Weather and rainfall also play a huge role on the bees' ability to gather nectar and produce honey. During some seasons, the nectar flow never happens and we are left without any honey at all.
Healthy bees are the greatest reward. When the bees are healthy and nature cooperates with a good nectar flow that the bees are packing in - that is the most rewarding part of beekeeping. We see the reward for all of the bees and our hard work throughout the year. Then comes honey harvesting. It is a sweet and sticky celebration of a good year when we begin to uncap the honeycombs and spin out the honey. Then comes bottling which our kids love to help with. Lastly, to see a happy customer enjoying the sweet fruit of our bees' labor. Those are the rewards of what we do.
Our goal is to double our production by adding about 40 new colonies to our operation. Our hope is to better serve our community with more local, raw honey and to provide for our growing family.
Jump into it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is often the best way to learn. If you enjoy it, don’t give up! The reward is in the work.
The first thing I did when I started was go to the local library and read every book they had on bees and beekeeping. Our local bee club, Pinellas Beekeepers Association, has been a great resource for me. I enjoy being able to talk to and learn from other beekeepers in our area. We can also help each other out with the challenges we are facing. YouTube is another great resource. I love watching different techniques other beekeepers use and gleaning from them to figure out my own way of doing it.
Be sure to check out the ins and outs of harvesting honey in their video here.
Facebook: Harris Honey
We would love to hear about how you support your local farmers! You can show your support for Josh and Rebekah Harris as well as other small, local farmers by purchasing one of our many Support Your Local Farmer items! We have tees available in a variety of style and color options for both kids and adults. We also carry a reusable canvas tote bag to take to your local farmers' market.
WE GIVE BACK! With your help, we plant one acre of wildflowers each month through the Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund. Learn more about this amazing organization here.
UNISEX SHIRT SIZE CHART:
XS = Length: 27"// Width: 16.5”
S = Length: 28"// Width: 18”
M = Length: 29"// Width: 20”
L = Length: 30"// Width: 22”
XL = Length: 31"// Width: 24”
2XL = Length: 32"// Width: 26”
WOMEN’S SLIM FIT SIZE CHART:
S = Length: 25.5"// Width: 15.5”
M = Length: 26"// Width: 16.5”
L = Length: 27"// Width: 17”
XL = Length: 27.5"// Width: 18”
2XL = Length: 28"// Width: 19”
KIDS ORGANIC SIZE CHART
0-3M Onesie= Length 14” // Width 7”
3-6M Onesie= Length 15” // Width 8”
6-9M Onesie= Length 16” // Width 8”
9-12M Onesie= Length 17” // Width 8.5”
12-18M T-shirt= Length 14” // Width 11”
18-24M T-shirt= Length 14.5” // Width 11.5”
2T= Length 15” // Width 11”
3T= Length 15.5” // Width 11.5”
4T= Length 16.5” // Width 12”
6 (Youth Small)= Length 18” // Width 14”
8= Length 20” // Width 14.5”
10= Length 21.5” // Width 15.5”
KIDS NON-ORGANIC SIZE CHART:
3-6M Onesie = Length: 16" // Width: 8"
6-12M Onesie = Length: 17.5"// Width: 9.5"
12-18M T-shirt = Length: 13" // Width: 10.5"
18-24M T-shirt = Length: 14"// Width: 11"
2T T-shirt = Length: 16" // Width: 11"
3T T-shirt = Length: 16.5"// Width: 12”
4T T-shirt = Length: 17.5"// Width: 13.5”
5T T-shirt = Length: 18.5"// Width: 14”
Youth Small T-shirt = Length: 20.5"// Width: 14.5”
WOMEN’S FLOWY TANKS
XS = Length: 24.5"// Width: 16”
S = Length: 26"// Width: 16.5”
M = Length: 26"// Width: 17.5”
L = Length: 26.5"// Width: 18”
XL = Length: 27"// Width: 19”
XS = Length: 25.5"// Width: 16”
S = Length: 26"// Width: 18”
M = Length: 27.5"// Width: 20”
L = Length: 28.5"// Width: 22.5”
XL = Length: 29.5"// Width: 23.5”
S = Length: 25"// Width: 16”
M = Length: 25.5"// Width: 16.5”
L = Length: 26"// Width: 18.5”
XL = Length: 26.5"// Width: 18.5”
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