Looking for a little extra income in his retirement, Dave Barrickman decided to turn to a hobby he learned when he was 10. He became a full-time beekeeper.
Dave expanded his hives from a few in his backyard to 150 in Hamilton, Madison and Boone counties to provide pure, natural honey for family and friends.
“I learned beekeeping as a young lad from my grandfather in Strawtown, Indiana,” he says. “I got my first hive when I was 19 and have been a beekeeper for more than 46 years.”
Extracting honey only takes place once or twice a year, but he performs many tasks every month to maintain the hives and the bees’ production. Natural disasters, weather and disease can ruin a hive, so each year new ones are started.
“Our honey is quite different from mass produced varieties,” Dave says. While many commercial honeys are heated over 145 degrees, which destroys the natural enzymes, Wildflower Ridge honey varieties are never heated over 118 degrees, which preserves the natural enzymes.
“We plant sunflowers, borage, bee balm, and a variety of flowers in our gardens and fields for the bees,” says Pattie Barrickman, his wife and business partner. “We have dandelions and white clover naturally in the yard. We plant our back acres sometimes in buckwheat, but most often in alsike clover, which the bees just love.”
An enthusiast about his work, Dave shares his talent with others by teaching beekeeping to 4-H members, his two stepchildren and two of his grandchildren.
For many years, Dave would don the bulky protective gear that all beekeepers need to wear, fire up the smoker and make daily presentations about beekeeping at the Indiana State Fair. He also is a past president of the Indiana Beekeepers Association; Pattie has been secretary of the association.
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