The RFC had the absolute pleasure of visiting Cy Bearer on his farm in Louisa County. I'm sure you have all seen, and hopefully tasted, Cy's local honey before. You can find it pretty easily at area markets including Whole Foods and Ellwood Thompson's.
We met Cy on the farm on a sunny Saturday afternoon, after a few wrong turns we found his decidedly nondescript drive off of a winding country road not too far from 64W in Louisa County. Cy owns a near twenty acre farm and is proud to call himself a "home owner" to a beautiful historic ruin on the property, originally one of the oldest farm houses in the county. He keeps a number of hives here on this property and also maintains hives in other rural locations as well as many urban hives in the city.
As a new beekeeper myself, it was a pleasure to watch Cy open and tend to his hives. He has a real ease with his lady bees and is no doubt a confident and studied beekeeper. Beekeeping is a long tradition in his family. His uncle is also a honey producer and vends his honey locally at South of the James Market.
Listening to Cy talk about his craft is a testament to his success as a beekeeper. He understands the simplicity of allowing the hive to do what it does naturally while also grasping the subtleties of when and how to intervene in their process. He values the meditative process of hive management, and you can sense that he equally reveres the land and the solitude that it gives him.
Cy is one of those farmers who has very intentionally designed his life to fit into his work. And he'll readily admit that running this small farm is hard work. Maybe it's his piece of land, maybe it's this guy but something is really working for him.
“I’ve always known that being outdoors was the secret to being happy. And I’ve learned that actually producing something and then taking it to market is an extremely rewarding way to make a living. Working on parts of things can be unfulfilling.” -Cy Bearer