Nothing is quite as sweet as honey, especially from your own back yard.
Jenny and Fred Hauser have discovered this to be true through eight years of tending to their own beehives. Hauser Apiaries in the town of St. Joseph just north of Hudson is their labor of love.
And the fruits of the honeybees and Hauser's labor have developed quite a following, especially with the good growing season the area has enjoyed this summer.
"We got 30 gallons from our first extraction and sold out," said Jenny during a tour of their hive area in the back of their pleasant rural homestead. "Last year we had only 15 gallons total to sell."
The product is sold off a table in their driveway on River Road and also shipped far and wide.
The Hausers have five bee colonies set up in their back yard, five more in a neighbor's apple orchard and five in a nearby vineyard.
"We should get about 75 gallons of honey this year," said Fred. He said 12 pounds of honey makes a gallon.
The apiaries will be set up so the bees can winter over where they are. "I learned the system from a course at the University of Minnesota," said Fred. "In November, around Thanksgiving we'll prepare the colonies. In March we keep an eye on them to prepare for spring."
"You're always learning in this business. Each year is different and you learn from your mistakes," he said.
Fred said he hasn't experienced the problems that have infiltrated commercial honey producers such as colony collapse disorder and parasitic mites.
Jenny enjoys working the stand out front when the honey is ready for market. "You meet the people in the area," she said.
Jenney said about 30 people are regular customers from the immediate area plus she ships honey to Chicago, Seattle and Florida. "They found us through Facebook," she said.
They expect to be selling the next extraction of honey in September. She has added candle-making from the beeswax to her inventory.
So far though, tending the honeybees hasn't worn thin and the couple still has genuine enthusiasm for the work. Fred admits they'll never make enough money to be compensated for their labor, but otherwise it pays for the operating bills.
"It's a hobby that pays for itself," he said.
Fred is contemplating an additional two colonies for next year's production.
Fred, 43, and Jenny, 48, are natives of the area. Fred grew up in the house right next door and was involved in 4-H as a kid. He graduated from Hudson High School in 1987 and served eight years in the Army. The former Jenny Cudd said she grew up in Hudson and graduated from HHS in 1982.
For more information contact Hauser Apiaries, 353 River Road, Hudson, WI 54016, (715) 381-5518 or look for them on Facebook.