STORY

Rob on the job at French Hill Apiaries. 2017.

Rob got his start with bees in 2015. He was a young, overworked, and underpaid attorney in the Valley. He hadn’t worked as a lawyer for long, but was already seriously disillusioned with his job. Aware of this, a good friend reached out to Rob with an offer. The friend had a job lined up with Michael Palmerrenowned beekeeper of French Hill Apiaries in Saint Albans, Vermontbut first had to move himself and hundreds of his own honeybee colonies north from North Carolina. He offered to fly Rob down to help with the move and try his hand at beekeeping.

Rob took the offer. He quit his job and quickly flew down.

Frustratingly, Rob was barely useful in any beekeeping tasks. The friend’s energy and motivation drained. His stress skyrocketed. However, Rob proved remarkably helpful during the move. Rob worked relentlessly, driving through the night and surrendering his by-then pricked and swollen body to a continuing onslaught of stings as he loaded and unloaded colonies from the vehicle. 

In the end, the friend was extremely grateful to Rob. He promised to tell Michael Palmerthen short on help in his own apiariesthat Rob was an experienced beekeeper who was also available for hire.

Based on the friend’s word, Mike hired Rob. And although he quickly realized Rob was perhaps not as qualified as purported, Mike kept Rob on. Rob could take a sting, after all, and that was half the battle.

Rob learned a lot quickly at French Hill Apiaries. He progressed from doing menial tasks to becoming a highly skilled and dependable beekeeper on the French Hill team. He’s since trekked from Western Mass back to Saint Albans every year, each time bringing back to the Pioneer Valley a further developed version of his unique commercial beekeeping experienceand, on occasion, some really great queensto his own growing apiaries.

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