"Beekeeping for us is not just a family tradition, a hobby, a business or a favourite job - it's life... Life in a world of beauty and harmony with nature." The apiary was founded as a family business, so our spouses are the owners and creators," Nataliya Kotenko shares about herself, her husband Viktor, and their business.

Adhering to the principles of harmony with nature as a whole, development continues

The name "Harmony" was given to the apiary, because the basis of the relationship between man and nature should be just such an interaction. It was launched back in 2014. At that time, the apiary had 23 bee families, and now we are talking about the number of more than 200 bee families. 

The reasons for taking up beekeeping were not at all related to any ecological ideas, they were, in fact, difficult economic conditions. Due to the circumstances in the life of the family, there was an urgent need to look for new sources of income, thereby making changes in the winding course of events. At that time, the woman worked as a biology teacher, and the man worked as a turner. 

"We started beekeeping with the goal of earning income, i.e. "on account", but it turned out to be "for love". And now we are not leading the apiary through development, but the bees are developing and teaching us. It is they who set the main melody of our entire life, introduce us to interesting people and arrange the most unexpected meetings."

In the first year, we managed to organize a small apiary with 23 bee colonies, starting with just 3 of our home bee colonies. My brother helped with the bee colonies, and the hives were all made by hand on the basis of reeds. Reed was an affordable and economical material, but it required a lot of work and patience. The case was successful, the reed hives were rated excellent by the bees. The method of keeping bees in logs (hollows) was also used. Currently, the apiary has both reed hives, logs, and traditional wooden hives.

Prospects for the development of the case are dictated by life itself

In order to create favourable conditions for collecting honey and keeping bees, the couple had to make a decision to move to the husband's native village. Komarovka, Lyubashiv district, Odesa region. The house where the man grew up was built by his grandfather Hryhoriy Borysenko and grandmother Vasylyna Tereshchenko. It is built of clay, and its age reaches more than 100 years! In this way, their "ancestral estate" suddenly appeared, where they have been living harmoniously, healthily and happily for more than 8 years.

"It's good to be here for us and the bees"

During this time, Natalia and Viktor's business was reformed from a nomadic apiary to a permanent one. The territory on which the bee colony is located is about 3 hectares, where 1 ha is a paulownia garden, and about 1 ha is planted with honey plants (phacelia). The territory around the apiary is mainly a sloping area where human economic activity is minimal, here on one side there are forest and steppe areas with various wild medicinal herbs and on the other the valley of the Tylygul River, also with peculiar vegetation. Such placement creates favourable conditions to conduct business in an ecological, organic direction. "Indeed - health has become better, chronic diseases, fortunately, have remained somewhere in the past."

A little about the delicious!

The range of API products was formed gradually. Currently, the list of traditional api products includes high-quality varietal honey, pollen without drying, perga, drone and royal jelly with honey, propolis, tinctures and much more. In addition, the following craft goodies appeared: honey with wild and tea rose petals, honey cream with fresh fruit using our own technology. Among the cream honeys, the following have gained popularity: cherry-mint, apricot, mulberry-lavender, currant, aromatic raspberry. Berries and fruits for them are grown independently. We also offer wild medicinal herbs, collected in virgin steppe and forest areas of the territory of the medical collection. "In the creation of our products, only those components that are made in our apiary or collected personally by us in this territory are involved, which distinguishes the product by its authenticity and makes it possible to guarantee its appropriate quality to the consumer."

All future plans are designed to benefit consumers and bees

What is planned is mainly what life prompts, that is, what will be useful to consumers and tireless workers - bees. In particular, it is about the gradual expansion of the line of health products. Products are already being prepared that combine the experience of generations of beekeepers with the new knowledge of modern scientists, for the benefit of mankind. We are working on improving the technology for maximum preservation of the healing properties of various beekeeping products. There is an essential need for the creation of wellness api-houses, which have been dreamed of for a long time. Attention is also paid to the issue of beautification and greening of the territory with plants that are valuable honey-bearing and interesting for humans.