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Busy Bees Turn into Sweet Sales for Local Couple

Port Washington residents instantly recognize Bethel Metz' Seven Hills Honey at the city's Farmers Market. The Metzes make the honey from hives in the surrounding area.

The eyes of Port Washington residents instantly look to the Metzes large banner at the city's Farmers Market.

"People point at it and they go, 'Oh my gosh, you're those people,'" Bethel Metz said. "I have to buy honey — this honey is made in my backyard, this honey is made by my neighbors. There's this huge interest in Port."

Metz has been a Port Washington urban beekeeper since last summer. She and her husband Mike took classes to gain the necessary knowledge, and now work together on raising honeybees outside their home. In fact, an ordinance allowing urban beekeeping inside city limits was created because of the Metzes decision to bring the hobby here.

Those who drive by the Metzes residence at a quick glance would never know that there is anything unusual.

  • Related: Beekeeper's Quick Reaction Soothes 2-Year-Old's Hornet Stings

"Well, I joke and say that we live on a city farm because of the fact that we have flowers, and we have vegetables in the back yard, and then we have the bees," Metz said. "Most people had no idea that we even (have) bees — that’s not something that we kept secret, but it’s not something that we ran around advertising."

Metz is very passionate about urban beekeeping and knows of many others that do so throughout Wisconsin and the United States. She got the idea to start by watching television.

"I had seen a special on TV, and it ended up becoming a dear friend of mine, Charlie Koenen from BeePods, and he had special hives that were designed just for urban living, and so I talked to my husband about it and we decided to give it a shot," Metz said.

The Metzes were able to start selling honey this year, calling it "Bethel's Seven Hills Honey."

"We sell our honey by the quart, pint, and half pint," the Bethel's Seven Hills Honey Facebook page says. "We have round portions and square portions of cut-comb honey — the honey still in the comb, eaten whole — and pint jars of honey with a portion of cut-comb inside. ... All of our honey is sold raw. We do not heat the honey, and it is only strained to get pieces of wax out, it is not filtered. It is real oney!" 

Metz told Patch the honey sales have been going really well.

"People really want honey that is made right here in town, and we are the only ones currently making it," she said. "Because of that, we have been having very successful Farmers Markets."

As she's gotten further into the world of beekeeping, she's realized the benefit it can have as a teaching tool for younger generations.

"My most satisfying moments are when I get asked to go in to speak to children. Everyone's, 'Oh no, boo, I hate these, they sting,' and then an hour later I say to them, 'How many of you now like honeybees?' And every single one of them raises their hands," she said. "I consider that to be a measure of success.

"It’s really turned into a passion of ours. When you have to advocate and work to do something that you love to do, you realize how much that it does mean to you."

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