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Walker Farms ‘From the bees to the beekeeper, to you’

October 11, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Beekeeping is very hard and serious work, and you had better know what you're doing.

Allen "Buddy" Walker has been doing it for more than 60 years, and it has resulted in one of the best honey businesses in the area.

Walker Farms, at 17131 Slater Road, produces 100 percent natural, local and unprocessed honey "from the bees to the beekeeper, to you" as their slogan says, and to nearly 30 other area businesses as well as at the farm itself.

Article Photos

Allen “Buddy” Walker and his wife, Joyce, at Walker Farms.

CHUCK BALLARO

Walker Farms was also named the Neighbor's Best of North Fort Myers for Best Honey Farm. While it seems like a narrow category, Walker points out that there are tens of thousands of honey farms in Florida alone, comparing them to craft beer you see everywhere these days.

Walker, whose family came to Alva in 1889, got started with bees at age 12, when he was in the Boy Scouts and living on Pondella Road. It turned out to be a sweet investment.

"An old neighbor friend had some and I got interested in it. I was given two hives for a dollar apiece and I started it. I've had them ever since," Walker said.

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Walker moved to what has become Walker Farms in 1970, with he and his wife, Joyce, only coming up with a formal branding in the last 15 to 20 years, he said.

The local honeys are Orange Blossom, Saw Palmetto, Wildflower and Black Mangrove, a saltwater plant. They bloom at different times of the year, over hundreds of acres, which creates work for the bees all year round.

That requires them to move the colonies all over the place, which is really hard work, Walker said. He has had as many as 1,500 colonies, which he now leaves in the hands of three other beekeepers who work for him.

"We take the bees to the flowers. When that crop is done we take it to the next crop. They all bloom at separate times," Walker said. "We don't get much crossover."

What they do get are problems from time to time with the bees. Global warming, invasive insects, and other factors over the last 30 to 40 years have made bee keeping more challenging.

During Irma, Walker was told to move his bees from Pine Island, where they expected a surge, to Slater Road, which didn't.

"With Irma, they said there was going to be a storm surge, but the eye moved inland, there was no surge and they were moved to a puddle where they drowned. They didn't get water in Pine Island," Walker said.

The honey is sold anywhere from six ounces to a gallon, and with or without the wax comb.

The farm's store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They usually close during August for vacation.

For more information, call 543-8071 or go to www.WalkerFarmsHoney.com.

 
 

 

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