Ferguson’s Apiaries has been around for a while - since 1967 to be exact. Local resident Bill Ferguson started the operation and has tended to a hive of Buckfast queen bees that not only provide the main ingredient in Ferguson’s products, but it also produces bees for beekeepers in Canada and the United States.
A true family affair, Bill’s hive has grown over the years, not only in beehives. His queen bee, better known as wife Rosemary, can be found working on the interior operation where products, including the honey butter and honey blends are produced. The hive also includes his children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, although not all are actually on-site.
With 225 beehives just behind The Honey House, Ferguson’s Apiaries produces 10,000 pounds of honey per year. But like other forms of agriculture, so much depends on the weather - sunshine and mild temperatures are needed to permit fruit trees and flowers to bloom.
It’s only fitting then that the various honeys that Ferguson’s Apiaries produces are influenced by the country’s four seasons: dandelion honey in springtime, clover honey in the summer and goldenrod honey in the autumn. Buckwheat honey is harvested in the autumn months, but it depends on the farmers, Bill explains. Of course, given the Canadian winters, winter blends are impossible. Rosemary advises that the liquid summer blend is the most popular honey.
The honey sells inside the aptly-named retail store, The Honey House, alongside other honey-related products. For added nutrients, apricots, cinnamon and ginger blends are added to both liquid honey and the honey butters (a perfect spread for a bagel or morning toast) that are produced with real butter on-site.
A selection of creams produced with pure beeswax, dubbed “skin food”, is available alongside pillar and taper beeswax candles and some even more imaginative candle styles.
Visits to the beehives are not offered at this time, but Bill and Rosemary are always keen to tell interested visitors more about the bees and process.
Located on the Zurich-Hensall Road (Highway 84) between the two villages, Ferguson’s Apiaries is open Thursday to Saturday and is following the current COVID-19 protocols for anyone looking to purchase direct from the producer. www.fergusonsapiaries.on.ca