Featured Producer - Lorne & Alida Prins

Introducing Lorne and Alida Prins, members of the Alberta Honey Producers Co-op and a dynamic duo behind a buzzing success story in beekeeping. Leaving behind careers in construction, they returned to Lorne's family farm in Lacombe, Alberta to start their own apiary with a vision to cultivate not only honey, but also a deeper connection to the land.

Lorne and Alida Prins started their apiary in April, 2018. Having previously worked in various construction settings for over 15 years, the couple chose to return to Lorne's farm to start a family and a new business venture in bees. Together they built their beekeeping business from the ground up, with support from community mentors, family members and a handful of high school students who helped out at neighbouring beekeeping facilities in the area.

In 2019, the two began building their own honey extraction facility, capable of handling an operation three times the size they were previously managing. Since then, they have continued their business, with operations spread around a 20km radius from their honey house in Lacombe and Ponoka County. In 2023, the apiary had 2000 producing colonies, as well as another 1200 nucleus colonies where they produced their own queens. They take on a full time field crew of eight workers from April to October, in addition to eight students assisting them with honey extraction in the summer months.

As proud members of the Alberta Honey Producers Co-op, the Prins' main business is bulk honey production which is packaged under the BeeMaid brand and for food service and industrial customers from Bee Maid's Spruce Grove facility. 
Hive to Home: Exploring Agritourism 
While most commercial scale beekeepers remain closed to the public, the Prins see their apiary as a tool for educating others on the importance of food sustainability. They have made a great effort to cater to agritourism and community awareness initiatives by conducting regular apiary tours, adding observation windows to their honey extraction facility, and selling beehive related products from over 30 local makers in their artisan shop. 
"When you buy local you know what’s in it, you know where it came from and who made it, and the carbon footprint is smaller" says Alida. "Money spent locally stays in the community."

The farm is also home to a herd of bison, cows, pigs, goats, chickens, turkeys, and exotic pheasants for viewing and interaction as well as meat sales. The couple now aspires to be a destination for visitors from around the province to visit a working farm, learn about the land, the animals, and the products, and have a chance to purchase directly from the farmer. 

"We strive to be educators and a service to the community, to help people understand where their food comes from and know people behind it. In five years, we see ourselves being that one stop tourist destination, as well as being a major provider of bees and hives to other beekeepers, from hobbyists to other commercial apiaries."