Once thought to be allergic to bees, one 25-year-old New Jersey man has turned his favorite hobby into a full-scale business while helping others to learn more about apiculture — the art of beekeeping — along the way.
Dumont native Patrick Harrison, primary beekeeper at HarBee Beekeeping now open on Route 206 in Newton — tells DailyVoice.com that he once thought he was allergic to bees following an incident at scout camp when he was young.
“Someone stepped on what was probably a wasp nest, after that, I carried an EpiPen,” he said.
After testing negative for the allergy during his first year at Bergen Community College, he attended a class about gardening that included a discussion about bees.
“Since then I have been hooked,” he said. “I bought a beginner bee book and got my first two colonies that following spring.”
Harrison quickly advanced in the industry by teaming up with a commercial beekeeper and working one-on-one with customers in their own yards.
He then used his extensive knowledge to help open HarBee, which not only sells fresh honey and candles but offers beekeeping services and educational classes for beginners.
“What makes HarBee different is that we put on education programs that are free for all of the online material, dedicate a lot of time to managing bees in different ways sometimes trying different things, and most importantly we keep bees for people in their yard,” he said.
Harrison hopes to use HarBee to help others learn about and appreciate the art of beekeeping.
“I would like to see more people get into the hobby of growing food for themselves,” said Harrison. “There are many gardeners and beekeepers, but there [are] more people growing grass lawn, which they do not eat.”
Meanwhile, Harrison stresses the critical importance of supporting small, local farms and farmers.
“Supporting farmers buying what they are growing is the number one way to keep farming in New Jersey,” he said. “There are certainly more than a few farmers in the state who could sell their land…but choose not to.”
“When you make it worthwhile for them to hire someone that will take over the operations or have a child that would do so, you are keeping farms in the state. I have been fortunate enough to have that support.”
HarBee Beekeeping, 408 Rt. 206, Newton, NJ
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