Gatten's Honey Farm
It was supposed to be a vegetable garden.
The Arizona desert is a tough place to grow things; the sand is coarse and dry, and of course the sun can be scorching. It's a challenging and often frustrating venture to keep certain plants alive. Gene had planted a large amount of seeds, but was having a hard time getting them to take root and thrive. What did manage to grow struggled to survive, and a lot of those early efforts literally died on the vine. Gene was at his wit's end.
So off he went to see the good folks at the Arizona Department of Agriculture. After a long discussion of the problem and a few questions from the Agriculture specialists, they told him, "It sounds like your plants aren't getting pollinated."
Most people would have probably given up at this point, or bought window boxes. Not Gene. He went out and bought two honeybee hives, took them home, and set them out at the edge of the struggling vegetable garden. It took some trial and error; when the garden still had trouble taking root , the Agriculture Department came down to have a look around, and suggested a specific watering schedule -- bees being cretures of habit. Gene immediately began learning all he could about bees and beekeeping. He signed up for an online course and read everything he could find. It took a few months before he felt like he had a grip on it, and after some trial and error -- and an adjustment of the watering schedule -- things began changing. Rapidly.
One year later, Gene and Trudy were almost swimming in a deluge of fresh honey. Buckets of it. Gallons of it. So much honey, they were completely caught off guard -- they hadn't expected this. At first, they were just giving the sweet, yummy, golden nectar away to friends -- anyone and everyone they could. "We didn't think there was much demand for honey," Gene remembers. Then he laughs. "Boy, were we wrong!'
Now, nearly ten years later, the Gattens have over 50 hives, produce four kinds of local honey, and we're still growing!
Oh... and the garden? Lush, green, fertile, and full of healthy veggies.