LAURINBURG — When Jeff Stone began selling honey out of his Wagram home he didn’t realize what a success it would be.
Jeff moved his business — Wagram Apiary — to North Main Street in Laurinburg after people kept coming to the house at all hours of the day to buy the local honey.
Stone runs the business with the help of his wife, Mary, and daughter-in-law Myra.
“I’m the beekeeper, my wife and Myra do the business side of things,” Jeff said.“My daughter and my son also help out when they can so it truly is a family run business.”
It was also Jeff’s first date with Mary that brought him into the beekeeping business.
“Our first date when we were 16 my dad was taking off honey and he came to the house and instead of us going somewhere he stayed and helped my dad take off honey and he’d wanted to do it ever since,” said Mary.
Jeff had been raising the bees for several years before beginning to sell it to the community and has been slowly growing ever since with around 150 hives currently.
“We realized the benefits of honey and we really felt like we had a good product for the people of Scotland County and surrounding counties,” Jeff said. “But in order to meet the demand we had to continue to grow. We came to appreciate Scotland, Richmond, and Moore counties… that’s where most of the honey goes. By supporting us through purchasing the honey, we can continue to grow each year and try to meet the needs of the people around us.”
The business sells raw honey, which has nothing removed from it.
Honey that is typically sold in big box stores tends to be cooked and have added sweeteners to it.
“It’s really important to get to know the people who are supplying you honey so you can be assured of a natural pure product that is going to give you the health benefits and the taste you desire,” said Jeff. “One of the benefits of raw honey is that if you have allergies to pollens, some of those pollens are in the honey when it’s in the raw form to help you build up an immunity.”
Raising bees is a large investment according to Jeff, which is why they can only grow incrementally each year.
But he says beekeeping is important because one-third of the food people eat is someway contributed to bees through pollination. He also tries to maximize what the bees give them through products since the bees work hard to make everything. The apiary also sells soaps, lotions, candles, and candy.
“We use all the products that the bees will give us,” Jeff said. “We’ll take the wax renderings when we uncap the honey and use that to make the candles, lotions, and soaps.”
Besides selling the products the bees give them they also sell nucleus’, or nucs, which are a “bee starter kit” with half a hive in them for people who want to start raising bees.
Stones also goes to different elementary schools with one of the viewing hives to teach young students about the importance of bees and to teach them not to be scared of them.
The apiary is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at 1220 North Main Street.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171.