Now that we’ve given you the down low on beeswax and its many benefits in skincare, you probably want to know where we get our luxurious beeswax.
Meet our newest farmer in the spotlight: Maggie Ashworth, Four Tails Honey & Apiary.
Maggie started Four Tails Honey & Apiary with Keith Mullane about two or three years ago in Cornish, New Hampshire.
So how did Maggie get into the beekeeping business?
“I [am a] caretaker for a family in Cornish, NH. The husband, Keith Mullane, started beekeeping like 10 years ago as a hobby, and I became interested as I helped him spin some of his honey like 2-3 years ago . . . so we decided to start a business together because he was just giving away his honey as gifts for Christmas. I was interested in raising the bees as well, so we invested in it together and that’s how I kind of got involved.”
And what exactly does Maggie do as a beekeeper?
“[I] manage the bees . . . and part of that looks like organizing the equipment, making sure that the electric fences are working, getting in with the bees, putting a suit on and making sure that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing, [and] treating them for mites. I [also] sell the honey products at our farmers market here in Hartland and I also do some smaller markets that happen in this area.”
How did Maggie’s products become a vital addition to Farmer’s Body?
“[B]asically Meggan is using our old frames of honeycomb to render wax from; it’s definitely a process and it’s not easy to do. [I]t takes a lot of time, effort, and product. So basically what I did was I had her come to my house and rummage through our frames … old frames that have been overused by the bees. Once you use something over time, you have to recycle it. So she came over and got a bunch of frames and is using those to render the wax from. When I did that process it looked like scraping the frames into a big pot of boiling hot water, boiling it down, and then filtering it out. [T]hen [after] waiting a day, the wax rises to the top of the water bucket giving you a nice circular disk of raw wax. [T]hen you melt that wax down again to get a nice clean waxy product.”
Yep, that’s pretty much what I do. It’s definitely not an easy process. But it’s worth it to know that I’m recycling something that might otherwise have been thrown away while also adding local ingredients to the Farmer’s Body products. So what is Maggie’s favorite part of beekeeping?
“I really enjoy working with Keith inside the beehives because he’s so knowledgeable. He has been doing this for a really long time and has tried different methods. [W]e speak about them when we are in with the bees, and I think that he’s a very good teacher. I also very much enjoy being at the farmers market and different markets because I get to meet new people. I get to meet new vendors, like Meggan, and I love supporting the local businesses. And the bees are pretty cool too. The bees …. They are extremely smart, and they are so cute and gentle."
Before we say adieu, how did Maggie and Keith arrive at the name for their business?
“We are called Four Tails Honey and Apiary. Our little slogan is “made by bees; spun with love.” Because we hand spin all the honey. The four tails came from the critters we have - we have two dogs and two cats. [T]hey are pretty active in our daily lives and participate in our farm chores, and [they] enjoy licking up the remnants of the honey when I'm out working with the bees. They are a cute crew. We have four different sized jars of honey that we sell at the farmers market and in front of each jar are the four different pictures of the pets.”