Mountain Blossom Bees: Abuzz with honey makers, pollinators and educators
What began as a hobby with personal wellness in mind is now a business abuzz with legions of honey-makers and pollinators. Our longtime Grants Pass, Ore., client Scott VanHise started beekeeping 30 years ago after hearing that consuming local honey might ease his troublesome allergy symptoms. Mentored by an experienced, retired beekeeper, Scott kept his fulltime job as a store manager for a well-known supermarket chain. In 2015, he retired and Mountain Blossom Bees took flight as a business.
After a pandemic-era courtship, Scott gained a partner in business and life. He and Kimberly VanHise married in 2021. The following year, she retired from teaching and took on a more active role at Mountain Blossom Bees. As Scott puts it, “she just changed jobs.” We’re honored the business also started banking with us in 2022.
As for division of labor, Scott tends to the bees and extracts honey from the hives. He does this, Kimberly points out, wearing short sleeves without a bee suit, and “just a veil over his cowboy hat.” Kimberly, who does wear a protective suit when working around the hives, focuses on bottling and delivering the honey to retail outlets in Oregon. The couple also run a roadside farm stand selling honey on their property along I-5, conveniently in view of the company’s shop and Kim’s studio (she’s also a professional western artist known as Kim Ragsdale).
Their 400 bee colonies produce a lot of honey, the weight of which is so pronounced as Kimberly delivers it in her SUV, she calls the car her “low rider.” In addition to making honey, the bees are important pollinators. Scott and Kimberly transport theirs to pollinate almond trees in California, where they also winter the bees due to the state’s milder weather. Pollination, while essential to the nation’s farmers and growers, is also a vital income source for many beekeepers.
With honeybee populations in decline across the nation, Scott and Kimberly are avid educators and advocates for bees and beekeeping. They have an observation hive built with Plexiglass so people can watch the bees at work. And they frequently present to students and community groups, and take part in the annual Josephine County Fair.
The couple is currently restoring a 1977 pickup truck. They plan to paint it Performance Yellow to serve as their honey delivery vehicle. Learn more about them at the Mountain Blossom Bees website.