WTAE's Michelle Wright On Beekeeping and The Wright Stuff Honey
WTAE-TV News Anchor Michelle Wright never imagined herself as a beekeeper, but now, managing a hive of more than 100,000 bees is one of her most thrilling hobbies. And, the mother of two, who learned the craft from beekeeping expert Jim Fitzroy, doesn’t mind a little sting or two for something so sweet. Last summer, she began bottling the honey from her hive, located in a Penn Hills apiary, appropriately calling it “The Wright Stuff.” To her surprise, Wright’s honey won first place at a few local festivals and second place at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show, and people — including chefs at local restaurants — have been eager to buy it from her ever since. “Beekeeping is really fascinating. You get the benefits of having your pets make dessert for you — how many other people can say that?” she asks. Wright tells us all about her passion for her hobby in our Q-and-A, here.
Edible Allegheny: Were you afraid of bees growing up?
Michelle Wright: Yeah! You know, maybe wasps or yellow jackets. When I was a kid, I had no use for bees whatsoever.
EA: How did you first become interested in beekeeping?
MW: I did a bee story a few years ago when the population of honeybees was declining, and I just became fascinated. I remember the first time I did a story, the beekeeper suited me up, and I felt like I was going into a hazmat situation. It was really frightening at first because there were millions of bees around us, and the sound of the buzzing is just overwhelming. My heart was racing, and I was having trouble breathing. Of course, I had a suit on, but it’s still scary…and I just fell in love with why they’re so important. They pollinate a third of what we eat, and so, when you think about their importance and grocery store prices, it really affects all of us. Without bees, we would have fewer food options and they would still be more expensive.
EA: What do you enjoy most about this hobby?
MW: Watching them work. All the bees that make the honey and gather the nectar are women. So, I felt the connection of running around, doing a lot of work, and multitasking! They gather the nectar, make the honeycomb, tend to the babies, and clean the hive. Then, last June, when we started getting the actual honey, it was a thrill. I jarred it up, and I gave it as gifts to everyone I know, and then, people started buying it from me. I actually sell it, and it’s really rewarding to hear people talking about honey and all the things they do with it. But, there’s nothing like putting a suit on and just watching the bees work. It’s mesmerizing.
EA: Do you use the honey to cook?
MW: There’s nothing better than warm biscuits and honey. It’s the most beautiful thing. I have jars of honey with lemon slices in them — I use that in hot tea. I have jars of honey with walnuts soaking, and that’s good with cheese and crackers. There are also lots of recipes with carrots, or frozen fruit — you just put the honey on it, and it melts together. It’s delicious. There are endless ways you can use it. It’s so wonderful, natural, and good for you.
+ Did you know?
Each honeybee makes less than one tenth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime and lives for about six weeks, on average. It requires 10,000 worker bees to produce one pound of honey!
To purchase The Wright Stuff, email Michelle Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.