North Georgia Honey Maker Living The Dream

[Lloyd Allison – Owner, Allison’s Raw Honey
& Vineyard] I think on
the wall, in my bedroom, in a magic marker I wrote, “I
want to be a dairy farmer,” when I was six years old. So that was my first thoughts. Ya know a farmer…. only a farmer knows the
connection to the earth and I’ve got that connection. I love to see things grow. I love to see production. And, it’s not the money, but it’s just seeing
things grow. Being successful, of course, you’ve got to
be successful in farming. Today…we, ya know… 35, 40 years later,
we’re running approximately 1,000 colonies of bees. We have bees in three counties in Georgia
and north Georgia. We have Union, White and Towns County. And then we have bees in South Georgia in
Dooly County, down in Middle Georgia. We make cotton honey down there. But that’s, basically how we got started in
beekeeping. My grandfather purchased this property in
the 1940s, early 1940s, and originally it was about 600 acres here on this farm with
a river, the Tesnatee River, running through the middle. And It was 95% woods at that time, so I had
a 600-acre playground out here with a river running through the middle for our swimming
hole. I had two brothers and a few years ago my
dad passed, and we got the divisions in the property here, so I could really start doing
some work here. So, I decided to plant a vineyard here. This field, here, is approximately five acres
of Muscadine grapes, about 50% bronze and 50% black Muscadines. On back, we have approximately five or six
more acres, so I’ll have 25 acres or so of Muscadines when I finish. This venture kinda, kinda came later in life. I turned, turned 61 and decided if I was going
to do this, I better get on with it. So in the next three or four years, I hope
to have all the 25 acres in Muscadines and also have four acres of apples, three acres
of blueberries, and a portion of an acre of peaches. We picked the fruit yesterday and as you saw
the ladies are down there making jam and jelly today. I think it’s the freshness of the fruit, it
makes a better product. And uh. ya know…It’s just another way to
diversify the fruit. The bees are a rollercoaster ride. They’re up and down. You lose. Bees decline because of the mites and one
thing and another. I just wanted to diversify a little bit in
case we had a bad year in the honey production. Maybe we’d have a bumper crop in the grapes. Then getting into the wine, and jellies and
jams and you-pick and all the above. Just thought it would be a fun thing to do. Maybe one day I’ll sit back and look at this
and let other people take it over and I’ll travel.


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