Kayla Sorley | BLOG CONTRIBUTOR
Kayla Sorley | FILM PHOTOGRAPHY
Their family home was built in the shape of a honeycomb.
Yes, Theo Fredrich built his family a hexagon home in Cedar, BC by hand. As I pull up to Fredrich's Honey, I notice a sign on the door that reads “Bless My Honeybees”. Hives dot the landscape, from the bottom of the drive way, up the hill to where the little shop front sits tucked between the trees. A constant low buzz emanates from the forest of comfrey and purple dead nettle. There is a remarkable amount of calm settling over the grounds of Fredrich’s apiary, despite the constant risk of sting from the tens of thousands of bees that call this property home. You get the sense that these little creatures actually make the best of neighbours - quietly going about the business of creating the magical substance that Theo and his family have built their life on - Honey.
Master beekeeper Theo Fredrich began his training at the age of 3, wandering between the hives of his neighbour in Odessa, Ukraine. For 70 years he has created a life in symbiosis with honey bees, from Germany to South America and Canada. This relationship is truly a love affair and never-ending process of trial and error. While strolling the property that has been his family’s home for many decades, Theo explains the star shaped tags with different numbers tacked to many of the hives - they are a system for tracking his experiments. The language of the bees can only be deciphered by observing their behaviours in varying situations - stacking hives, the addition of a queen by human intervention or by natural selection, the disruption or lack of that the hive endures. The patience and dedication involved in this dance, is staggering. Only passion can fuel a lifetime of devotedness such as this.
The love is so deep that it spans generations. Theo Jr., the son of Fredrich’s Honey’s founder, now runs the business alongside his father and lives on the property with his wife and children. Together, the whole family takes part in the tradition, making beeswax candles for sale in the shop and learning the intricacies of tending to the bees.
The sense of place - of home - is what gives this company its heart and the honey it’s sweetness. The magic liquid flows from taps in a steady stream, as locals float in and out of the property to have their empty jars refilled. They speak of the wonders of Fredrich’s propolis tincture, claiming the honey-bee made medicine as the secret to their health and vitality. They smile as they watch the children dart between the trees and from stream to stream, hoping to spot a fresh water trout or two.