A sweet sideline
Gary Williams is carrying on the ancient tradition of beekeeping at his 32-acre home on Salem Church Road in Gloucester where he has 12 established hives and six on the way.
A New Jersey man and father of seven children, Gary moved to Gloucester in 1995. “My sister lives in Williamsburg and we found we liked this area. I first built a log cabin but when this property came up I bought it. We built here and call it Beulah Acres.”
Gary, a Gloucester Post Office employee, said his beekeeping started when Alexis Skinner showed him the hives he had at the time. “That’s what made me interested so in 2003 I got started. This year my hives produced 400 pounds of honey. It varies. Last year I harvested only 300 pounds but the year before it was 500 pounds.” He has never had a drastic loss of hives. “Maybe one or two when mice would build a nest in the hives.”
Gary’s bees are set far away from his home (“my wife is allergic to bee stings”) and there the bees have a lot of tulip poplar trees to enjoy. “Four to six weeks is when they gather the majority of their nectar, working all the time. In the summer they slow down.”
The Williamses use honey in place of sugar. It’s on their table instead of a sugar bowl. “We go through a lot of it as a family.”
For the third year in a row Beulah Acres honey, a beautiful medium golden color, can be found at the Gloucester Farmers’ Market on Wednesday nights.