German Village Gazette

'Bee Lady' reaps golden bounty

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Nina Bagley, a.k.a. the German Village Bee Lady, with some of her honey at her Jaeger Street home. Bagley's honey is available at Thurn's Specialty Meats and is also being used by chefs at Barcelona, Lindey's, and Pistacia Vera.
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It's been a banner year for the German Village Bee Lady.

Nina Bagley, an apiarist who lives on Jaeger Street, said she's harvested 600 pounds of honey this summer -- quadrupling her biggest haul, which came four years ago.

"All of the sudden it just turned into a beautiful honey year," Bagley said.

But things were tense this spring, when the wet cool weather lingered, threatening the honey bees.

Bagley said she always takes special precautions to protect her hives in winter by covering them with a tarp, orienting them toward the sun and providing plenty of food. She said the cold winter wiped out 80 percent of the hives across the country.

"I'm a good bee-keeper," she said. "Not everybody's a good bee-keeper."

Worker bees, which were especially fond of the black locust tree this year, produced a prized 100 percent raw honey that's light golden in color and floral, which Bagley likens to Prosecco, an Italian sparking white wine. Workers from other hives targeted dandelions and flowers. Each produces a distinct color and flavor, she said.

There is a market for Nina's German Village Honey, which is sold for $10 for 16-ounce jars.

Bagley said she usually gives the honey away to people who help her or let her store her hives on their properties.

She said she has about 30 at various places throughout the Village and South Side, including her house and Frank Fetch Park.

Local restaurants Barcelona, Lindey's and Pistacia Vera are using the honey as an ingredient in desserts. The jars are being sold at Thurn's Specialty Meats, 530 Greenlawn Ave.

She admits the price is a little on the inexpensive side, considering the work that goes into it.

"There's a nice side to me," she said. "I'm fair. I don't want to gouge anybody."

Bagley has been an apiarist since 2007. Part of her work includes raising queens for other bee-keepers, many of whom live out of state.

She said she has started a consulting business this year and holds classes throughout the year, which raises extra money, most of which goes back into the business.

But Bagley said she's not in bee-keeping for the money. She does it for the environment and to restore the honey-bee population, an uphill battle at the moment.

"It's mainly just a kind gesture to the public," she said. "It's a heavy, dirty and hot job. I do it for the love of it."

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