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Why did you adopt? Fulfilling a lifelong dream

In our new “Why did you adopt?” blog column, we’re chatting with some of the honeybee heroes who adopted a hive with us, to find out what their adoption means to them. We are incredibly grateful to all of our hive sponsors, who make it possible for us to keep doing what we love—and keep saving more bees—every single day.

When searching for the perfect anniversary present for her husband, who has long dreamed of keeping his own honeybee apiary, Roxy Rosenberg discovered Honeybee Heroes—and booked her husband a surprise visit to Willowdale Farm, complete with his very own hive.

Roxy Rosenberg had heard about Honeybee Heroes from a few friends, who had all adopted hives and raved to her about the process (thank you, anonymous friends!). So when considering what to get her husband for their 12th anniversary, a honeybee hive seemed like the perfect fit. The couple lives in Napier, only 40 minutes away from our farm, and her husband has always had a thing for the bees.

“Mark is totally obsessed with honeybees,” says Roxy. “He’s always reading into beekeeping, and I often catch him watching YouTube videos about it. It’s been Mark’s lifelong goal to own his own colony of bees on a piece of property, and for now, Honeybee Heroes seemed like the closest thing to having that experience.”

Roxy teamed up with Honeybee Heroes to plan a surprise visit to the farm. When she and Mark arrived, the team was waiting for them at the honey house, standing next to a brand-new hive with Mark’s name on it.

“I’ll always remember the look on his face when we got to the farm,” Roxy remembers. “He was so stoked the whole time we were there.”

Chris took them for a ride in the Honeybee Heroes Land Rover to check out the farm and scout the location for Mark’s hive. “The guys were such a hoot and so friendly,” Roxy says. “They made the experience so great. Chris had so much knowledge to share.”

Mark loved the opportunity to see beekeepers in action and up close. “Seeing it all in action was so exciting. You know how it happens but when you see it, it’s totally different from what you expect. Even though I’d read about it, I got to see it and realise, wow, this is something I could actually do. Chris was super helpful and said I could even come back to the farm and learn about the process by helping out the guys, and I’m definitely going to do that.”

Why are bees so important to Mark? His first answer might not be the one you’d expect: “I have been stung by bees 12 times,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve been stung on the beach, in a shop, so many places. Once I was literally sitting at my desk inside my house, minding my own business, when a bee landing on my leg and stung me. So I’ve always had this connection with bees and dreamt of having my own hive.” Well, it certainly sounds like the bees have been trying to get Mark’s attention, so maybe there is some beekeeping in his future!

But for Mark, it’s more than just his personal history that makes the tiny pollinator so important to him. “It’s about the bees’ work ethic, the way they live, the way they play such an important role in our environment. And it’s about sustainability, too. Who isn’t worrying about that?”

Mark explains that even when the couple has been low on funds, they’ve always prioritised buying real honey that was farmed correctly, by beekeepers who took pride in looking after their bees. So supporting Honeybee Heroes was an easy sell, he says. “Chris and his farm are really worthy of support. I love what they’re doing.”

Since Mark knows a lot about bees, we asked him to share one of his favorite bee trivia facts with us. “They found honey in an Egyptian tomb, and they say its 4 000 years old,” Mark explains. “And it’s still edible. It’s the only food without an expiry date. Even salt has an expiry date. Honey never goes old—you can eat it forever.”

At home, Mark and Roxy use honey in their mint tea, smear it on Mark’s homemade sourdough bread, and Roxy uses it in her muesli and rusk recipes. They’ve also learned that eating local honey is a great antidote to Roxy’s seasonal allergies. “She’s really noticed a difference,” Mark says. “Living out here in the summer harvest season, everyone in the whole town gets allergies, so eating the local honey helps you build up a better immunity against it.”

You heard it here first, people—raw, local honey is just what the doctor ordered.

Adopting a beehive is a unique gift for any occasion, whether it’s to celebrate an anniversary, honour a late loved one, to contribute to a sustainable future or to surprise a friend. Whether you’re sponsoring a hive on behalf of a loved one, or adopting one for yourself, your hive will keep a bee colony safe for years to come, making it a gift that keeps on giving. Not to mention the 6 bottles of raw fynbos honey that every sponsor receives as a thanks from our resident bees!

Ready to adopt a hive? Check out our Adopt page above for more information.

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