Tag Archives: Dent Street Diggers Community Garden

Rick Flagg article in the Tallahassee Democrat

NIce to see a local (and I mean downtown!) beekeeper in the news…

From the Tallahassee Democrat, June 13 2014
MICHELLE GOMEZ/SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT

 

Rick Flagg is the Bee Man of Frenchtown

He looks like ZZ Top.

And chances are, you’ve found his smooth sound on the radio. Frenchtown Beez frontman Rick Flagg has been the “Voice of the Capitol” as a Clear Chan­nel Media reporter since the ‘70s, but he’s finally heard his calling. It buzz­es.

A French­town resident for 10 years, Flagg started keeping bees five years ago. The neigh­borhood has changed significantly in a short time, much of it due to the community garden blossoming where drug activity once flourished.

“I add something unique to the neighbor­hood,” said Flagg. “And it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like honey.”

Flagg sells his honey at the Frenchtown mar­ket on Saturdays, for $5 to $10 depending on size and how cool you’d like your bottle to look. Some of the honey is bright amber, some a deep gold­en cherry, depending on the season in which the bees gathered the pollen. Both varieties have a wonderfully gentle, yet complex flavor. He of­fers tastes to market customers.

“When people try it, they realize how sweet it is, and how different it is from store-bought.”

He’s only been at the sales part for a year, which began once he had too much honey to give away to coworkers.

All of Flagg’s bees are extremely industrious females, except for a handful of drones whose sole purpose is a suicidal mating mission with the queen. From the moment the baby bee hatches and for the next 30 days (when she will die), she works her way up the division of labor to the prize job of “forager.” Or as we know her, “pollina­tor.”

Pollination is the rea­son bees are big busi­ness. Feral bees, native and wild, have been largely wiped out by viruses. Farmers depend on bees to pollinate their crops, so that squash flower will actually be­come a squash. Many rent bees for the job. One hive, that can house any­where from 5,000 to 30,000 bees, can go for $200. And large-scale farmers rent thousands of hives.

Flagg is never looking to get that big, though his girls do the job at the Dent Street Diggers Community Garden and iGrow Youth Farm, a program of the Tallahas­see Food Network, which happens to be in his back­yard.

He shares his passion for the work, training interested iGrow youth to keep bees. Flagg de­scribes the mentorship as a necessary function, suggesting that beekeep­ers carry an attitude of community service.

“We all have a notion of responsibility for recruiting new beekeep­ers.”

As our visit came to a close a man walking by on the sidewalk asked The Bee Man about buy­ing some honey. Flagg directed him to Satur­day’s farmers market at the corner of Georgia and Macomb, but the man wanted to bring money by when he got off work.

“It’s for the neigh­borhood,” Flagg said.

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 I hope Rick doesn’t mind me sharing his picture from his Twitter account!

 

…DOUG
KD4MOJ