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History

Althauser Honey Farm began in the early 1980s as 3 4-H projects. Joel and Craig started with 2 hives of bees that they purchased from another beekeeper. The next year, Tara took candle making as a project. As time passed, Craig moved to Kansas. Joel continued to keep bees with increasing help from Dad (Jerry). Mom (Nancy) started making candles when Tara went away to college.

The early wax melting was accomplished with a solar melter. Very cheap, very slow. The next melter was an electric cappings melter that worked on the principal that wax floats on honey. Not too fast and hard to have clean wax for candles. We finally designed the melter we are now using: a double boiler affair about 2 feet high and 10 inches in diameter heated by propane or an electric hot plate.

The bee business increased in the early years because Joel bought out 2 other beekeepers. At one time, we had about 60 hives, but due to time constraints, we now have about 20. This is about the number that we can manage if one can manage bees at all. Most of the bees are kept at the farm with a few at two other sites within 5 miles of Kenton. Major nectar sources are wildflowers and clover, and soybeans are a large late source of nectar. Our honey is sold in several sizes of containers. The processing consists only in warming the honey to about 105 degrees to make it fluid enough to filter through nylon net, and then putting it in the bottle.

The candle business has increased in volume and diversity. The original candles made by Tara and later by Nancy were the rolled variety from sheets of dyed beeswax foundation. Nancy has since become skilled in fluting candles made from sheets of smooth beeswax. The first molded candle was a 3 inch skep; a replica of an ancient bell shaped bee hive made from straw. Over the years, we have acquired many other molds (except the one you want). In addition to many sizes and shapes of candles, we have a large assortment of ornaments. Beeswax ornaments on a Christmas tree is an old German tradition. We also have several sizes of nativity scenes that are very serene.

The fourth weekend in September is Sweet Harvest. This is a weekend at the farm where we feature an acre of pick your own pumpkins, gourds and ornamental corn. We also demonstrate cider making using apples from our trees, and have all of our honey and beeswax products available.