Alex and I have been living the beekeeper’s working vacation in Phoenix at the AHPA meeting. This is the January moment when the American Honey Producers Association holds a conference somewhere warm. Alex got a gold star for wearing a bee shirt at the conference today!
This is the fiftieth celebration for the organization. There could be nothing better than a rainbow of balloons and floating bees to enter the conference every morning! Attendees seem to be in a happy and productive mood. The main hiccup is missing several USDA researchers due to the government shutdown. The USDA absence means we lost some key speakers, though the conference organizers did a great job making adjustments. They added new subjects or let other speakers expand their presentations. Randy Oliver, for example, made good use of his additional time. I suspect the toll on beekeepers’ conferences is not likely to make the headlines regarding government shutdown coverage.
We also get to learn from extremely experienced beekeepers and process the findings of scientists working academics and the private sector. Even the trade show aspect of this conference is quite valuable. It’s remarkable how many different niches and subspecialties exist within our small industry. Right now we’re especially soaking up clues from migratory beekeepers that transport their bees and work almonds in February and March. Many of the people here maintain summer hive counts ranging from 2K-20K hives, so the level of expertise is extremely high.
It is possible that we visited a couple of local eateries as well. If you’re in the neighborhood someday, we enjoyed a couple of places with very different vibes. Boulders on Broadway may not have been our healthiest choice of 2019, but quality brews and burgers drew a townie crowd.
We also went up to Rustlers Rooste with the rest of the AHPA crew. We took in the bbq chicken, games, and live music. It’s good to have some socialization away from the conference center mixed into the bee talk.
I will post soon on some of our non-culinary conference high points!
We will also head to California tomorrow!