Farmers Daughter Honey recently donated proceeds from their sales at the 2022 “Taste of the Valley” event. Intrigued by their support and generosity, I checked out their web site. Now even more intrigued by the Doelman’s story, their passion for bees, the environment, and sustainable farming, I decided to reach out to them to learn more about their story and their business.
After connecting with Jennifer over a video chat call, I can honestly say she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She had so much patience with me and with my many questions which quickly revealed just how little I knew about the bee keeping business and its tight interconnection with farming.
Jennifer taught me about her deep background in agriculture, the five generations she learned from (her grandfather was even in the Ontario Agriculture Hall of Fame), and how much farming has changed due to a need to be agile in an underserviced rural Ontario.
The passion and drive to keep innovating led Jennifer to study Agronomy (for those of you like me that don’t know what that is… it is the science of growing crops more efficiently and profitably while protecting the environment).
Being an Agronomist has helped Jennifer pack science into every bottle of their delicious honey. It is so much more than following the Farmer’s Almanac. Activities and practices are instead guided by reputable evidence and research for the soils and crops that the bees are feeding from. All that science helps to make for healthier bees that can handle more stress.
In fact, this love for science and the environment is largely what started the “Farmers Daughter Honey” business through a “passion project”. Jennifer’s passion was about finding better connections between crop farmers, the environment, and beekeepers. Finding ways to embrace the diversity of Renfrew County and to realize benefits from each other.
Jennifer said… “No matter what, we all live in this ecosystem, and shared goals and values = a healthy environment”.
On the topic of the environment, I asked Jennifer why they chose Muskrat Watershed Council (MWC) as their charity of choice for the popular fall event “Taste of the Valley”, and Jennifer immediately told me what a fan they are of Karen and Rene Coulas and the amazing work they do.
No argument here Jennifer, Karen and Rene are indeed amazing and somewhat local celebrities. Essentially, Jennifer really appreciates the diligent work of the MWC. How it works to improve the local environment in ways that unifies the community (farmers, residents, cottagers, and newcomers alike). Jennifer feels that the Muskrat Watershed Council really lives the value “when we rally together, we can make a big difference”, and with a unified community rallied around it even bigger improvements are very possible.
Throughout the interview, Jennifer kept referring to “her girls” when talking about the bees. Now my belief always was that some of the bees were males and had certain jobs… so I had to ask. It turns out my assumptions were all wrong; in a beehive the women do all the work, men are good for carrying on blood lines and morale and sometimes disease. But it is the females that do all the foraging and who make up the colony that stays with the hive. I had to chuckle with this new realization and mental picture of male bees telling jokes and stories to keep spirits up.
When questioning Jennifer for any thoughts or parting words to leave our readers with she stated…” Many hands make for light work; if you value the lake, the environment, and your drinking water, we will all find a way to make a difference”.
Very good advice Jennifer: if we all do a little, a lot can get done indeed.
Thanks Jennifer and Farmers Daughter Honey, for doing your part, your time for this interview, and for inspiring us all to do our part too.
Video: Farmers Daughter Honey - Sustainability, Pollinator Seeds, Community
Note that the MWC is actively recruiting volunteers to do even more big impact initiatives. If you would like to attend one of our meetings or to find out more, please contact us at: