Grant Award: $6,000
Donald has tripled the size of his bee yard by adding 20 hives, so that he is well on his way to a goal of 40-hives in his bee yard. The honey adds to farm income while the bees pollinate his 4-acre market gardens.
Before his expansion, Donald was producing about 36 gallons of honey per year from hives he started in 2013. “I have people calling requesting honey by the case and I don’t have it,” he said. With the addition of the new hives in 2016, he has already extracted 340 pounds of honey.
He is also planning ahead for changes at his farm as he ages. In future years, he can cut back on gardening projects that require heavy manual labor and expand beekeeping. “Therefore, I hope beekeeping will increase the long term viability at my farm,” he said.
Carringer Farms sells at the Franklin, Swain County, Hayesville Evening and Cowee Farmer’s Markets. The farm’s main customers are The Brewery on Main Street in Franklin and the Fork in the Road food truck at the Lazy Hiker Brewery in Franklin.
He and his wife Belinda have tended four acres of vegetables since 2012 as well as a variety of berries and fruit trees and 100 Golden Comet egg layers. Donald has gardened his entire life, planting his first cantaloupe seeds at age 5. Belinda is a full-time farmer, baker and jam and jelly maker.