Project Made Possible: Beehives Come to Norman Wells

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August 22, 2017

(Photo: Susan and Travis Wright, Norman Wells bee-keepers)

Norman Wells has been buzzing with activity this season, literally. For the first time, beehives are being kept in the community.

Travis and Susan Wright are the proud caretakers and harvesters of what may be the most northern beehives in the world. They harvested their first batch of what they’ve dubbed Bush Pilot Honey earlier this month.

Travis is a full time bush pilot and the duo felt it was fitting to name the honey in celebration of the job he holds in common with his bees: flying around the north collecting and delivering goods.  

The couple has been mentored through their journey by Matt Vincent, a fellow beekeeper from Yellowknife who has been able to provide tips and tricks for the Wrights.

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Sampling and Studying the Sweet Stuff

“It’s best honey I’ve ever had in my life,” Susan says. “The taste is so unique; the bees feed off local wild flowers such as wild red clover, fireweed and goldenrod. The added bonus is that the honey is 100% organic."  

"Originally, we wanted to get into honey production as a matter of curiosity,” Travis adds, “to see if it would or could work in Norman Wells.  We were curious if we would be able to produce honey and if the season would be long enough; and with enough wildflowers to sustain a hive or two.  If it did, we could take steps to having a steady stream of locally produced and chemical-free sweetener, right in our backyard. Overall, it's been a successful first year.”

The couple is also planning to use the honey as a natural immune booster during allergy season.  “We learned that if you consume honey produced in your area, it may provide an immunity to pollen-based allergies,” Travis notes.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment provided funding to subsidize the cost of flying the bees and hive equipment to Norman Wells under Growing Forward 2.

Honey to Debut at Norman Wells’ Farmers Market

Locals and visitors in Norman Wells can pick up their Bush Pilot Honey at the Norman Wells Farmers Market on August 26, 2017. Susan expects to have about 50 jars available from their inaugural season.  If all goes well, the couple hopes to expand the beehive operations next year.

Project Made Possible is an ongoing ITI blog series celebrating the achievements of NWT residents and businesses. ITI offers many programs and services to support economic development and growth. This series shares the many faces, stories and achievements that reflect their success.