Au Honey: A Story of 1 Couple’s Passion, 3 Years of Growth, and 600 Pounds of Honey.
For Lindsey Carroll, there’s nothing more calming than the sound of bees buzzing.
The 28-year-old and her boyfriend Bobby Fix currently own 20 hives that house roughly 60,000 bees on a 13-acre farm in Middletown. The two make raw honey under the business name Au Honey.
“I’m a pretty anxious person and I think with beekeeping, it’s very deliberate and very slow,” Carroll said. “It’s kind of like yoga.”
Carroll and Fix, 28, both started Au Honey three years ago, but this is the first year they are registered as a business.
Beekeeping originally started out as a hobby for Carroll after she quit her marketing job in Manhattan.
“I didn’t have anything else lined up,” Carroll said. “I had been talking to (Fix) about not having a job, not knowing what to do. I was 23 kind of having a nervous breakdown.”
In her newly acquired free time, Carroll began volunteering at the Monmouth County Park and Recreation’s gardening club.
While volunteering, she came across her first observation hive. From there, she went on to shadow local beekeepers, and even enlisted in a beekeeping class at Rutgers University.
Fix is the one who encouraged Carroll to make a change when she found herself unhappy working in the corporate world.
When Carroll started expressing an interest in beekeeping, he built her two beehives by hand.
“I have her back,” Fix said. “If she wanted to be a trapeze artist, I would have built her a trapeze in the backyard,” Fix said. “If she wanted to be a water skier, I would’ve moved to a lake.”
Fix said he often likes to turn up the volume when it comes to new projects.
“My way of doing things is … you want one tomato plant? Let’s get 20,” Fix said. “You want one beehive? Let’s get 20.”
The farm in Middletown belongs to Fix’s father — the two lease a part of the land. On the farm, you’ll find chickens, ducks, four dogs, and pounds of honey.
The first year of Au Honey, the duo started with two packages of bees.
“We made 50 pounds of honey,” Fix said. “We thought, ‘What are we going to do with 50 pounds of honey?’ ”
That’s when Fix took to social media, asking friends and family if they wanted to purchase a jar — the responses were overwhelming. Today, the two produce more than 600 pounds of honey.
The art of beekeeping is not as easy as it seems. Bees can be sensitive creatures.
There are certain rules a beekeeper must follow, Carroll said. The most important of which is introducing a new Queen to the bee colony.
The new Queen will be placed inside a cage before she enters the hive. Sugar candy is attached to the bottom of her cage, creating a barrier between the Queen and the worker bees. Once placed inside the hive, the worker bees will eat the sugar candy, which once fully eaten will release the Queen. This gives the worker bees time to adjust to their new Queen.
“It’s a very girly thing,” Carroll said. “At first, they’re a little bit iffy … (but) once they eat the sugar, they accept her and are completely loyal to that Queen.”
Being a good beekeeper all depends on feeling out the bees’ moods.
“Beehives are like people,” Fix said. “You have the same bees, the same exact genetics, the same exact conditions. One day, one will be super nice, the next day, one will be super aggressive. You kind of have to feel it out. If you have a feel for people, you can pretty much have a feel for what the bees are doing.”
Visit facebook.com/auhoney.middletown for more information.