During the summer months when the crops start emerging here in rural Wisconsin, we celebrate all things agriculture. June is dairy month, time for the local Farmer’s Market to kick in and for long hours with plenty of daylight for our farming neighbors. While our farm collection is the perfect rural touch to your décor and we’ve got some great plans with our pottery styles for fall harvest time, we are currently savoring our summer patterns, including our very popular Bee collection.
Affinity for bees and bee designs has grown in the past several years. When we learned that Cambridge native, Anna Evenson, is reigning as the 2020-2021 Wisconsin Honey Queen, we reached out for a chat to learn more from her! Anna studies dairy science and public relations at UW Platteville, works and a local dairy and still makes time to represent the Wisconsin Honey Producers as—well–the Queen Bee.
Anna shared that one-third of our food supply requires pollination and bees handle 80 percent of that pollination work. Bees are industrious and organized creatures with purpose in mind. Beekeepers range from hobbyists to industrial operations. Some people have a hive or two (Anna herself has a hive) while larger scale operations move bees around by the semi load to promote pollination in key agricultural areas. While one bee colony can product 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year, an average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. A strong, healthy hive hosts about 50,000 bees.
Wisconsin ranks 16th in honey production and we were the first state to have a honey queen program. Most states now have a honey queen and there is a national contest in January where Anna will represent Wisconsin beekeepers. Anna’s favorite part of her reign so far has been online classroom visits. “I love interacting with kids who are just learning about bees. It’s so fun when we get to start with the basics,” she says.
Here at Rowe Pottery, we celebrate these winged wonders with our 2021 Bee Collection that includes a crock, platter, utensil jar, mug and of course, a honey pot to hold the fruits of their labor. One of our potters, John, also happens to be a beekeeper! We asked Anna how the average person and can help keep our bee populations healthy, which has been a recent concern in agriculture. “Purples and pinks attract honeybees,” she shares. “Choose to plant flowers like lilacs and lavender.”
She also shared her motto for the year: “Let bees be.” She says that small honeybees don’t want to be around people and are not naturally aggressive. They prefer to do their job and go back to the hive. For more information on the Wisconsin Honey Producers, visit www.wihoney.org. For more pottery inspiration and to see all our summer patterns, follow us on Facebook and Instagram or explore www.rowepottery.com.