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Slide Ridge: A honey of a business for Mendon family

January 28th, 2011 Posted in Business

By Teresa Nield

MENDON—If anyone could ever be described as busy as a bee, then the James family comes as close as it gets. The Slide Ridge Honey business, based in Mendon and run by the seven members of the James family, bottles honey and vinegar made from the honey produced by their self-raised bees in a certified clean kitchen.

“We pride ourselves on our cleanliness,” said Kelli Bess, member of the family and manager of the warehouse. The kitchen is inspected each year by the Health Department of Utah.

The bottled honey is raw, with no additives or preservatives, keeping the honey’s benefits intact. The vinegar is aged, flavored, tested for the correct acidity level, then bottled and sold. The colors and flavors of these products can vary depending on the plants the bees collect from each new season.

Bees have a short life span, but in that short time one bee can make up to a tablespoon of honey. Combine each of the 30,000 bees per hive and you end up with a lot of honey. Within the bee’s already short lifespan, the harsh Utah winters can decrease that time even more, which is why the James family does more than make honey and vinegar with their bees. During the cold months of winter the bees are kept in a holding yard in Nevada, where the weather isn’t quite so cruel. Other times the bees are driven in a semi truck to California where they pollinate almond groves. Since studies have shown that bee numbers are decreasing, these groves are desperate for the bees to pollinate their crop.

While beekeeping is far more than a hobby for the James’ family, they do their part for those wanting to participate by selling starter kits to the beekeeping enthusiast. In the spring Martin James, who is also the Cache and Box Elder County bee inspector, teaches a class called “Hands On” Beekeeping.

Despite the fact that there are other honey sellers in the area, Slide Ridge Honey doesn’t run into a lot of competition and since bees seem to be disappearing they want to keep other bees in good health, as well as their own.

Bess said if their research turns up something new and beneficial, they try to share it. “We want to help each other out…we are all in it together.”

NW

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