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Tuesday, 23 October 2012 16:08
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Just a drive across town to the Castro Valley Farmers’ Market, Judy Casale makes beeswax candles at her booth where she sells honey and other products from her backyard bee hives.

 

 

 

 

By Robert Souza

CASTRO VALLEY FORUM

 

 

 

While she pumps little puffs of smoke into a hive of buzzing honey bees, Judy Casale explained that what started out as a Castro Valley beekeeping hobby has turned into something more on the order of a full-time job.

After 20 years of learning about bees and working with them, Casale now earns a living from her hives, selling honey and the many by-products of beeswax – lip balm, soap, candles, lotion.

The smoke, she said, is to calm the bees, and the bees return the favor, giving her what she describes as a “peaceful Zen-like feeling.”

However it hasn’t always been that way.

“There were a few times when I ran away screaming when I started,” Casale acknowledged Friday morning as she tended her backyard hives.

“I have more bees than any sane person should have, but it is something that I really enjoy,” she added.

She began raising bees after hearing about how increased pollination from bees could help her slumping fruit trees that were not producing. With the help of the bees Casale now has a lush backyard with kiwi, citrus and lime.

Today she has 75 hives in Castro Valley and scattered around in Hayward, Livermore, Lafayette and Sunol. Many are on farms where crops reap the benefit of the pollinating bees.

Casale’s garage is packed with boxes of jars for honey, bars of soap curing on racks, and two large honey spinning machines that extract the sweet amber juice from the honeycomb. She sells a number of her products at the Castro Valley Farmers’ Market every Saturday.

Visit www.dominiquehoneybees.com for more information on the products that come from Judy Casale’s bee hives.

 

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