Last week when I was at the Saturday Union Square Market I stopped by Twin Spruce Apiaries not because I needed honey or candles just mostly to look, it was one of those lazy Summer like late Fall afternoons and I was enjoying being out in the sun taking in the bounty of the market.Nonie and Bruce Bauer have been a regular fixture at the market ever since I started going back in 1992. When we lived on second avenue I used to buy candles from Nonie on a regular basis. She always had a wonderful selection of tapered beeswax candles in many colors she also, as you can see from the picture above, does a lot more than just tapers!
Nonie and I began chatting, she was apologizing for all the activity going on behind the counter with people hugging and saying good-bye. I asked her if this was their last market of the season and when in the Spring they would be back? After all I’d seen them there for the better part of 23 years and Twin Spruce Apiaries is a family business dating back to the 1940’s Walter Bauer is a second generation beekeeper. It was incomprehensible that she meant permanently…We won’t be back, this is it.
Nonie said flatly. Then explained:
We can’t provide you the honey anymore, it’s the bees. We’ve lost too many bees…
I was dumbstruck. Here is a family who has made a living off of bees for two generations. Nonie and Walter drove 135 miles each way from the Catskills every Saturday come rain or shine to the Union Square market to sell Honey, Candles and some baked goods. Now it was over? Not because they had decided to retire, (do Apiarist make enough money to retire?) but because of colony collapse the bees that had provided them a livelihood all these years had mostly died off – thanks to the farming of GMO’s.I asked Nonie a lot of questions trying to somehow figure out a way for this not to be true. She was distracted and busy, for her is was just a cold reality, why it had happened wasn’t so interesting to her as the fact of it.
The only thing I could do when faced with this was to shop: 6 nice beeswax tapers, 2 scented green pinecones ones, a 5 lb jar of buckwheat honey and smaller jar of honey with a honeycomb in it. The total cost for all of that: $52 The minute I walked away I called Neil all upset and sad.
What are these people going to do?
Was my first thought. My second thought was: