THE BEGINNINGS OF
PIONEER VALLEY APIARIES
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 Palmer—renowned beekeeper of French Hill Apiaries in Saint Albans, Vermont—but 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 actual beekeeping. The friend became worried about his bees, and his stress skyrocketed. However, Rob did prove remarkably helpful during the move. Rob worked hard, driving through the night and surrendering his by-then pricked and swollen body to a serious onslaught of further 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 Palmer—then short on help in his own apiaries—that 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 treks from Western Mass back to Saint Albans now and again, each time bringing back to the Pioneer Valley a slightly more refined version of his unique commercial beekeeping experience—and, on occasion, some really great queens—to his own growing apiaries.