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The roots of Honey Gardens started in 1965 when Todd started keeping bees with his brother Tom on the top field of their parents farm. The journey continued with studies of entomology and agricultural sciences at Cornell, working for beekeepers in the Finger Lakes of New York after this, and inspecting bees for the State of Vermont. Then, working with around 180 colonies, raw, farm style honey was introduced to the Vermont and Boston market. Todd would fill the little pick-up each month, make deliveries along the way to Boston and stay with his grandparents. This product was unusual, as people were used to the liquid heated honey found on most supermarket shelves. Raw honey was the traditional way honey was eaten 100 years earlier, before production outweighed good taste and nutrition in the honey market. Todd saw the value in the raw, unfiltered honey and knew that with a growing interest in healthy foods and agriculture, people were ready for it. A few years later the elderberry syrup was developed, also inspired by tradition and homebred health. Lewis Hill, well know as an orchardist and elderberry specialist in Vermont, inspired Todd for years to develop it. When the time was right, he brought a team of herbalists together to make it happen. This led to the development of the wild cherry bark syrup, propolis spray, salve and Rejuvenation Tonic. Their newest product is the mead, also grown from years of contemplation and testing. Mead, or honey wine, is the oldest fermented beverage known, and harkens to Honey Gardens connection to tradition. Over the last 12 years, Honey Gardens worked with an average of around 1200 colonies in the Champlain Valley of Vermont and the St. Lawrence River Valley of Northern New York State, peaking out at 1,900 and down to 340 after a tough winter loss. Even at that rate, the bees could not keep up with the demand for raw, unfiltered honey. They began bottling the honey of other local beekeepers and they were thrilled to have people enjoy their honey in its purest state – raw and unfiltered - a market that had not existed for them before. They have since scaled back their own beekeeping operation to about 25 hives, which are used to train the local youth in beekeeping and pollination. They bottle the honey from these fellow beekeepers throughout the spring and summer. Their vision includes connecting people to the land by encouraging sustainability and stewardship. By supporting the work of the bees, you are supporting agriculture and helping to keep land from development.