Meet Our Local Farmers: Kuchta Honey Farm
by Sara Chow
Local honey is the bees knees, and Kuchta Honey Farm owners, Rudy and Lois Kuchta, know this well. Together, the Kuchtas have been selling their unpasteurized honey for the past 6 years in our community and for the past 3 years at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s (TBRHSC) Fresh Market.
The Kuchta’s interest in beekeeping started before Rudy moved to Canada in 1967. “Rudy learned beekeeping while helping his father in Slovakia when he was a young boy,” says Lois. “After retiring, Rudy found the time to re-learn this practice and enjoys sharing this hobby with our family – especially our grandchildren.”
In addition to bee keeping, the Kuchtas also grow a large vegetable garden on their property and this year they added chickens to their hobby farm. While their produce and chickens aren’t for sale, their honey is a great way to put their hobby to tasty and healthy use.
Buying local honey as your natural sweetener isn’t just good for the taste buds, it’s also a great way to help our local honeybees. In recent years there has been a decline in the number of honey bees worldwide, including Canada, primarily due to habitat, nutrition, pesticide exposure, disease, pests, genetics, weather and climate change. In 2012, local beekeepers discovered a deadly parasite was introduced into local colonies and was killing local bees.
Buying honey locally supports farmers who tend to be more concerned about the health of their bees, rather than profits (unlike large honey companies). It also supports local farmers in keeping a healthy bee population in Thunder Bay, which is important because bees are the most common pollinators of our food crops. Without bees, much of the food we eat, as well as natural habitats, would not exist.
If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate local honey into your diet, try Rudy and Lois Kuchta’s salad dressing recipe:
Kuchta Honey Salad Dressing
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- ¼ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup Kuchta honey
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup Kuchta apple cider vinegar
- Dash of sea salt and pepper to taste
Mix dressing ingredients and combine with your favourite mixed salad. This dressing can also be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Try cutting up fresh thyme, dill, oregano and rosemary and adding them to taste too.
You can find the Kuchta Family selling their honey at TBRHSC’s Fresh Market on Wednesdays from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.