COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - North Shore beekeepers are calling their Summer haul one of their sweetest harvests in years.
They are now processing large amounts of Summer honey, which is a sign of a comeback after floods wiped out most of their hives two years ago.
Bee keeping is a sweet passion that has Jeff Horchoff buzzing to go before sun-up.
"Last year we got 90 gallons. This year we're at 140," said Horchoff.
Over the past two weeks he has been out collecting trays from hives across the Metro area to begin processing what the St. Joseph Abbey calls liquid gold.
Horchoff covers a lot of miles, from Norco, to Pearl River to collect trays loaded with honey.
A total of 350 honey-laden frames are hauled in then placed in a large pot. The honey flows to the bottom then sits while the valuable bees wax floats to the top.
The wax is collected and used to prepare the next generation of frames.
Horchoff said St. Joseph Abbey's honey varies in color and taste depending on the types of plants the bees draw nectar from.
Those plants range from honeysuckle vines, to lemon trees.
Horchoff said most of his bees draw nectar from tallow trees, also known as mutt trees, which seem to grow everywhere.
While this year's harvest is good, Horchoff has some concerns. Most of the pollen for his honey comes from tallow trees, which are slightly threatened in Louisiana.
"They're trying to pass legislation to wipe out tallows, because it's invasive," Horchoff said. "But for beekeepers we love it."
As long as the tallow trees remain, Horchoff expects his honey harvest to keep flowing. His liquid gold will continue to support ministries at St. Joseph's.
"Prayer and God, it's got to be good," said Horchoff.
This year's harvest is now on sale at The Abbey in Covington.
Horchoff is hoping to produce 400 gallons in two years, enough to keep the Abbey store shelves filled through the year.