History of Merrimack Valley Apiaries
In 1949, Andrew Card Sr. and his wife Alice were given one hive that quickly became many. Within a couple of years they started to provide a few hives for local apple pollination. In 1958 Andy and Alice Card created a partnership with Stewart and Ruth Cheney of Dunstable, MA to form Merrimack Valley Apiaries, Inc. At this time MVA started to pollinate wild blueberries in Maine and cranberries on Cape Cod.
After graduating from Bates College in 1973, Andy Jr. made beekeeping his full-time occupation. At that time MVA had about 2500 hives, in 1974, Andy Jr. and Crystal were married. Crystal soon began working with the bees and became interested in raising queens, Today Crystal’s queen rearing operation produces over 50,000 queens per year.
In 1976, MVA began migrating to Florida, leaving the bees in the care of Bill Ainesworth of Sanford, Florida, in order to meet the growing demand for stronger colonies for early New England pollination.
In 1985 Crystal and Andy Card Jr. purchased MVA from Andy Sr. The following year they bought a small bee farm from Robert L. Hayes, of Evergreen, LA. Robert stayed on after the purchase and over the next 12 years helped grow the Louisiana farm from 800 to 2500 colonies. Meanwhile, Andy Sr.’s manager, Lucyann Jurss, continued to manage the wintering of some colonies in Florida. In 1986, Andy and Crystal continued moving several loads of bees to Western New York State a practice which began in 1984 for honey production following cranberry pollination as floral sources were pushed out by real estate development in eastern Massachusetts. In 1990 they started a second honey production farm near Ft. Plain, NY. Today production at the two NY farms approaches half a million pounds. Meanwhile honey production and colony numbers continued to grow at the Evergreen Honey Company in Louisiana currently managed by Wes Card.
Today, both companies have grown and operate over 30,000 colonies nationwide providing NUCs, pollination services, processed and raw honey, and beeswax.
After graduating from Cornell in 2003, Wesley and his brother Glenn, a 2006 graduate from the University of Vermont represent the next generation of beekeepers from a family farm that began with a single colony. With three generations backed by fifty years of experience we look forward to meeting your beekeeping needs now and in the future.
Massachusetts:Massachusetts Beekeepers Association Essex County Beekeepers Association Middlesex County Beekeepers Association Norfolk County Beekeepers Association Worcester County Beekeepers Association Barnstable County Beekepers Association Bristol County Beekepers Association
New York:Empire State Honey Producers Association
Other Associations:American Honey Producers American Beekeeping Federation Eastern Apicultural Society Louisiana Beekeepers Association National Honey Board Vermont Beekeepers Association