Nature | Tourism | Jenny B’s Apiary In Hudson Valley — All Heart And Community

Jenny B’s Apiary In Hudson Valley — All Heart And Community

A common ingredient, she discovered, is beeswax. Lots of beeswax. So much of it that Jenny B began to wonder if she could not swim downstream and supply her own beeswax. Jenny B asked herself, why buy the beeswax when you can buy the whole hive?


When one of Jenny’s two dogs, Beez, was ill and needed surgery, Jenny B — Jennifer B Ellison, long time resident of Long Island — needed a side hustle to afford to pay for some of the surgery. So she started to make lip balms and body butters.

A common ingredient, she discovered, is beeswax. Lots of beeswax. So much of it that Jenny B began to wonder if she could not swim downstream and supply her own beeswax. Jenny B asked herself, why buy the beeswax when you can buy the whole hive?

This, obviously, involved the keeping of bees. And thus Jenny B became a beekeeper, and The Jenny B Project was born. 

Later, in 2017, she and her husband, Peter Ellison, Detective, NYPD, moved to Hudson Valley, where she found herself with a great environment to maintain her apiary. “This is farm country,” Jenny told Destinations Of New York State and began to integrate into the ecosystem. “We miss certain things about Long Island, like the beach, but Hudson Valley has it all — beaches, mountains and urban areas (minus the traffic).”

Jenny B’s Apiary In Hudson Valley — All Heart And Community

A Hudson Valley resident, Jenny began to participate in the farmers’ markets in the region. At one of these local markets in Washingtonville, she met Corinne Courtney who runs “Nailed It - Hardware”.

Courtney offered Jenny a modest space in her hardware store to help her get her business started and Beez’ Shop by The Jenny B Project built its hive.

Jenny spoke highly of Courtney as someone involved in the community, and always there to help anyone run a business. Jenny said that Courtney’s credo is “we’re all in this together’.”

“What’s that saying about rising tides and lifting boats?” Jenny B said.

Jenny B said that the west bank of Hudson River has a lot of area for farms. The east is more urbanized and built over. At the farmers markets Jenny meets people who have been breeding bees for years. But she also meets those who haven’t had much luck and whose bees have died. 

While running an apiary is not a mystery according to Jenny, she said anyone can become a beekeeper, but it is not all honey either. The learning is endless — equipment old and new, climate change and location are all key areas to master.

And there are operational and existential hardships in running an apiary. There is deforestation, use of pesticides, lack of accessible and natural nectar. The process is time consuming and laborious - not to mention the very real danger of colony collapse — that’s when mites destroy all the worker bees, attaching themselves to the male brood, and leaving the queen and some immature bees to fend for themselves.

The bees, like any other pets, become family. Luckily they are rather fussless, so you can leave them for a few weeks and come back to them. Jenny says she likes bees because of how mathematical they are. They are exact - the temperature they fly at, the amount of nectar they produce. “They understand the concept of absolute zero!”, she exclaims. She’s thankful to campaigns like ‘Save The Bees’ that have brought about more awareness. 

And then when everything goes well, a single chamber of a hive can weigh anything from 30 to 80 pounds with eggs and honey, and this is a lot to carry. The entire hive can weigh a couple of hundred pounds, depending on the bee population size. That's about 15,000 to 25,000 bees.

Jenny B’s Apiary In Hudson Valley — All Heart And Community

For now she says she is very happy with where her business is. “It takes a certain grit to have ‘staying power’ through the growing pains of a business, because of the cost of growth and reinvesting your profits the first few years. I make sure to surround myself with positive and like minded people where we lift each other up and support new ideas,” she said.

Jenny B frequently referred to the help she receives from the Hudson Valley community.

The owner of Emporium Square Artisan Market, Barbara Martinez (previously Executive Director at Goshen Chamber of Commerce) has used her radio show to promote bee awareness and support businesses like Jenny’s. She is also a stop on GR Tours, For The Love Of Hudson and her friend Regina Rose who runs the tours brings lots of tourists to her shop.

Jenny B's Apiary in hudson valley

It would seem that Jenny B’s sense of community motivates her to give back. And to that end she has started to offer workshops for kids and adults interested in the art of apiary.

People learn that there is a lot of planning that a beekeeper needs to do. You order bees and equipment in winter, spring is when the bees arrive, fall is robbing season, so the summer months are for pollination.

“We can all help. Just plant a few wildflowers anywhere so the bees get enough nectar,” Jenny B urged. 

She also runs a free club called “Blooming Beez”. They meet once a month at Wagon Wheel Farm in Goshen. The free club is not just for beekeepers but for families, kids, or anyone interested to learn more about bees or even just want to see a beehive up close.  

Jenny B’s Apiary In Hudson Valley — All Heart And Community

Jenny B is studying more about apiary and sustainable beekeeping from the University of Montana.

And she is also pregnant. But that hasn’t slowed her down.

And yes, she’s heard all the cliches at the farmers’ markets. So one might reconsider walking up to Jenny B at the next farmers’ market and saying something like, “Oh, the hive is growing!”

Or, do. Jenny B thinks it is quite endearing. 

Jenny Ellison is a hospitality professional who started Beez’ Shop by The Jenny B Project — Beez From The Block LLC. They sell honey, bee products like soaps and balms and apiary equipment. You can find all her products on her website, https://www.thejennybproject.com and you can find her on a variety of social media. The website also has details on services, such as bee catching.

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In this article:   Hudson Valley | Upstate NY | Beekeeping | Beez Project | Apiary |
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