We are beekeepers in the pristine and beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and we operate our licensed honey house out of a historical church building. Beekeeping strikes the perfect balance between John’s culinary experience and my art background, and it allows us to combine our environmental passion with our interest in artisanal food products and gardening.
It is a natural extension of our passions for us to branch out into mead making, and to use the skills we have developed in home brewing to open a meadery in our historical church. This would make us the first Meadery in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!
We plan to start out as a "micro-meadery", producing small batches of artisanal meads, and other mead related beverages such as pyments (mead that is fermented with grape juice) and cysers (mead fermented with apples).
Beekeeping and its process allows for creativity. It is both a passion and a lifestyle that we plan to continue by means of sustainable methods. We keep between 50 and 100 hives.
Since U.P. honey is harvested just once per year in August, the beehives yield on average 60-80 pounds of honey each. The raw honey has not been over heated or filtered so that the honey retains its unique and complex flavors and beneficial nutrients. The honey itself is spun on a 20 frame extractor. It is then filtered and bottled by hand in the church kitchen. Our beeswax candles and natural soaps are also made in the church kitchen.
Mead is the most sustainable alcoholic beverage and perhaps the first one enjoyed by humans. Wine has been part of human culture for 6,000 years, but the history of mead dates back much farther, to 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, and has its origins on the African continent. Vineyards have had to mechanize to survive, but apiaries require lots of hand labor. And apiaries do not need irrigation, fertilizers or toxic pesticides.
As caretakers of this historical church, we are acutely aware that the relationship between our honeybees and our amazing building have, in a sense, come full circle. The Catholic Church has a long history with honeybees – the monks were the first beekeepers who produced wax for the church’s candles, and used the surplus honey from their managed bee colonies to make mead.
June 23rd is Midsummer Night's Eve, also called St. John's Eve. St. John is the patron saint of beekeepers. It's a time when the hives are full of honey. The full moon that occurs this month was called the Mead Moon, because honey was fermented to make mead. That's where the word "honeymoon" comes from, because it's also a time for lovers.
Our honey house is a beautiful destination for people to visit and appreciate all of the sweetness and light that the bees bring into our lives! We have the building that calls for something monumental to happen in it, we have the honey and the bees....
We invite you to be part of our dream, part of our alchemy and magic! Please support our efforts to add some sweetness and light to our region with
Algomah Acres Honey House and Meadery project!