Our Farm & Production, Our Honey, And Us
Our Farm is located 5 minutes North of Smeaton, Saskatchewan. We are nestled on 160 acres in the Northeast of beautiful Saskatchewan, tucked along the fringe of the majestic boreal forest. In the last decade we have expanded our operation from small hobbyist to full-fledged honey producers.
In 2015 we built a 12,000 square foot extracting plant, cold storage and holding facility. Our extracting room is state of the art, constructed with the highest standards and latest equipment and technologies. We are registered and approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and with the FDA in the U.S.A. We are also proud to be True Source Members.
Our honey is Canada No.1 White; it is beautiful, thick and creamy white honey. It is straight out of the hive and we guarantee that the honey does not exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that no pasteurization takes place. It is pure, raw, creamed in house, and contains all of the antibacterial healing properties that raw honey is known for.
Our bees feed off of a variety of crops across our prairies including clover, sweet clover, canola, alfalfa and wild blooms. The majority of our bulk honey consists of honey from the canola bloom. We use a combination of clover, sweet clover, alfalfa and wild blooms to package in smaller containers so the benefits of raw honey can be consumed and enjoyed in the home and marketplace
Our operation starts its season in April of each year and runs until mid-October. We start by plowing the bee yards so the snow melts in a way that leaves puddles of water for the bees to replenish their fluids after a long cold winter. We then start treating the bees for parasites and diseases, such as the Varroa Mite, American foulbrood and nosema. After those rounds are finished we start feeding the bees with a mixture of water and sugar, pollen, as well as the some of the honey they produced last year. This sustains them until the first blooms start to bud, if we did not feed them these food supplement they would not survive until the first blooms, as we live so far north and our spring is quite late. The sugar water, pollen and honey is fed to the bees and they store it in the brood chambers, by no means does it ever make it into the honey you eat, as the bees put the honey in completely separate boxes come harvest time. The bees fly mostly wildflower and caragana bushes for the months of May and June.
Once July arrives, the big crops are in bloom and the bees work long days to bring in that sweet liquid nectar that we all enjoy. July and August are their busiest months and ours as well. July and August are our honey flow or harvest months. We are working long days as well to keep up with those amazing little creatures that sometimes work so hard they fly their wings right off! The queens are laying eggs on a daily basis, so by this time of the year there are thousands and thousands of bees working from each colony. We are running an average of 1000 colonies right now and will be increasing slowly over the next couple of years and then we will level off around the 1300 mark.
After the summer harvest months, we start to treat the bees and feed them again so they can get their food supplies up for their long winter ahead. By the end of September we start wrapping them so they stay nice and warm all winter. The wraps are a tarp like material on the outside and insulation on the inside. We top off the colony with a piece of plywood and use rubber rope to secure everything in place for the winter months.
Our building is a 60×80 foot structure that was constructed by Integrity Building Systems. It is built with highest quality tin exterior. The interior consists of two different parts. One side is not insulated and is used to store our empty barrels, empty honey supers and our honey crop. This is separated off from the extracting room, coffee room and facilities. That area is also separated from the heat room, which is used to store the full honey supers when they come off of the field and are ready to be extracted. A constant temperature is maintained in the heat room and the tank room to ensure that the honey does not harden and granulate before it is extracted, creamed and packaged. There is also a mezzanine above the coffee room that consists of an office space for our business needs.
The G&C of GC Honey Bees
The G is Grant Schmidt
Grant has been a beekeeper for the last 20+ years. He is hardworking, diligent and possesses an excellence in his craft. Grant started out at one of the bigger Apiaries in Nipawin, SK., where he was born and raised. One of the local bee keepers took him under his wing and taught him everything he needed to know about this field. He worked there for eight years as the Foreman, managing the crew and 3000+ colonies. After this Apiary, he ran another large bee farm in the Nipawin area. In 2013 we started increasing and we were lucky to have another local bee farm take on and extract our then 400+ colonies for a couple of seasons until we were able to build our own facility.
Grant believes in good hard work ethic and enjoys the time he has to spend on his own bees. We are now situated in the centre of all of our colonies out in Smeaton, so that means no more driving back and forth from Nipawin every day. Grant is excited to finally be able to give his full attention to our bees and our business.
The C is Carissa Schmidt
Originally from BC and then Alberta, Carissa brings a variety of experience to the business. From administration, bookkeeping, and over 7 years in the trucking and transportation industry, she fills in the gaps and ensures the business and extracting plant run smoothly. Carissa was new to the beekeeping industry until she met and married Grant in 2012. Now bees and honey are her life. There is no better way to get educated than to jump in and learn from hands on experience. She has now created and markets the retail line of GC Honey Bees that you can purchase from many retailers Canada Wide, as well as right here on this site.