Ross Conrad to offer bee talk on March 19

MIDDLEBURY — Local beekeeper Ross Conrad will present a talk on his new book, “The Land of Milk and Honey: A History of Beekeeping in Vermont,” which he co-authored with Bill Mares, on Thursday, March 19, from 6:30-8 p.m., in the Community Room at Ilsley Public Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury. The book provides a testament of the Vermont’s leadership to protect the nation’s pollinators and challenges other states to write their own beekeeping histories.
“The Land of Milk and Honey” follows the trials and tribulations of notable and anonymous beekeepers in Vermont from the early 1800’s through to the present day. The history includes such beekeeping highlights as the “Vermont Beehive,” patented in 1836 by John Moseley Weeks of Salisbury, as Vermont’s most prominent entry in a worldwide search to modernize traditional hives. Other Vermont beekeeper-inventors were Augustin Manum and his “Bristol Chaff Hive” and James Crane of Bridport, who pioneered the use of cardboard cases for the packing of honey comb. Charles Mraz of Middlebury, who bought out the Crane business, became world famous for his invention of the fume board and his passionate advocacy for apitherapy. 
Addison County has consistently been the epicenter of Vermont beekeeping, as it exemplifies the matrix between bees, forage, fruits and herbivores to become a veritable “land of milk and honey.” It continues to produce roughly half of all Vermont’s honey.
This study provides a microcosm of Americans’ relationship with bees, the “farming for intellectuals” in writer and beekeeper Sue Hubbell’s lively phrase. “The Land of Milk and Honey” explores the relationship between the people of Vermont and the countryside they inhabit — a land and people that shift and change through the centuries in ways that directly affect the health and well-being of bees and beekeepers.

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