Pleasant View’s Leadoff Beekeeper

David John, son of John John and Margaret Thomas, was one of the first men in Pleasant View to own bees. Reuben T. Rhees bought his first swarm of bees from him in the fall of 1895 or 1896 for three dollars and Arthur G. Pledger also got his first bees from him.  Both men at various times were President of the State Bee Association and were very successful in the bee business.

The John family had a lot of choice fruit trees, vegetables, and garden produce which made it even more beneficial to have their own bees helping to pollinate. David gave much of his attention to the production of the various crops. He was especially good at selecting the right crops for the different types of soil. He took pride in eradicating the weeds that popped up and it was his goal to make his property “blossom as the rose.”

Diana Johns Higley said, “We as children remember that it was on top of the old bee shed that our fruit was put to dry before bottles could be bought to put it in for winter.” Their mother would stew the blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and wild strawberries for a few moments before putting them in regular dinner plates out on the bee shed to dry in the sun. “When dry, mother would carefully put them away and in the winter she would recook and sweeten them with honey if she didn’t have sugar, and oh how nice they were. I can still remember the flavor.” Not only did they use their own honey to sweeten their foods, but they used it to preserve their fruit when they didn’t have sugar.

There seems to be quite a number of local residents who raise their own bees today. If you go to the Ogden Farmer’s Market you’ll see a number of vendors selling their home harvested honey.

Did you know there are different flavors of honey? Where the bee boxes are placed makes a big difference in the look and flavor of the honey. If the bees visit buckwheat flowers, the honey is very dark. If the bee boxes are placed in a carrot seed producing field, the honey will have a deep amber color, the aroma is reminiscent of chocolate, and it tastes earthier than the clover honey readily available at Costco! It’s the same with blueberry, blackberry, and other fields where a certain variety of blossom are easily accessible for the bees.

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