Did you know that there are 169 million bees in Alberta and the province produces 40% of Canada’s honey? The Greenleeses do. Greg and Sarah Greenleese are two of Alberta’s 800 beekeepers and are pretty much some of the sweetest conservationists you’ll meet in Alberta (pun fully intended).
When Sarah talks about her bees, her face lights up as though she’s talking about children, a family pet or her husband Greg. When Greg talks about his bees, he has an air of authority, like Peter Mansbridge reporting the nightly news. These folks are serious about their jobs as Meadow Sweet Apiaries co-CEOs, chief honey pullers and environmental advocates.
Just outside of Edmonton in a tiny farming community called Tofield, the Greenleeses don their giant white suits each summer to tend their grist of bees. Late July and all of August is like the Stanley Cup playoffs for them: busy as hell, tiring and often risky. Success isn’t always guranteed. This year has been a good one – they both have been pulling honey overtime to try to get everything packaged and stored to sell for the remainder of the year at Edmonton’s Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market.
If you’ve ever been by Edmonton’s Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market, you’ll see their smiling faces every Saturday. They sell all kinds of honey and honey products, from divine smelling candles, soap and different sized jars of honey plus propolis. Propolis or bee glue is a sticky, waxy brown substance that the bees use to chink the nooks and crannies of their homes and people (since the days of Cleopatra) use as an ancient healing remedy. What I particularly love most about this super cute due of apiarists is their passion not only for beekeeping but also the environment. I dare you to ask them about dandelion spray or pesticides: both can ream off stats and facts about the ill-effects of wanton pesticide spraying. The bees of central Alberta are lucky to have two such knowledgeable and dedicated advocates.
So this week, I’m super stoked to Anchors+Proteas first ever couple interview about a couple of f*#king awesome jobs?