Daniela D’Ambros, inspects a drum of honey produced in 2018 at Honey Onyx Apiary on Friday, June 14. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Beekeepers from Argentina find sweet success in Shuswap

Honey Onyx Apiary is hoping to increase its operations by 200 hives this year

An Argentinian honey company that moved to Canada one year ago has enjoyed a flowering business and safety in Falkland.

Honey Onyx Apiary in Falkland is an offshoot of an Argentinian apiary run by the same family called Apicola Danangie. While the Argentinian company has been in business since 1991, Onyx has only been in full operation since March 2018.

Read more: UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Read more: WATCH: Cutting-edge B.C. lab opens to detect fake honey

Daniela D’Ambros, a second generation beekeeper whose sister runs the apiary in Argentina, believes the move was necessary for the future of the business.

“Argentina is not Venezuela but it’s South America so it has many problems. We were looking for new horizons and we wanted to do things well and to grow,” said D’Ambros. “In Argentina people don’t buy honey on shelves, they normally don’t eat so much honey so we had to export it mainly to Europe and some to the U.S.”

These thoughts culminated when in 2015 D’Ambros attended the American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow in Florida where she met Canadian beekeepers who told her to set up her hives in Canada.

D’Ambros listened. A year later she visited apiaries in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Before she left for the trip, a friend told her that there were Argentinian beekeepers in Vanderhoof so she ended up visiting them too.

In 2017 D’Ambros received a tip that Pat and Richard Springborn of SilverStar apiaries in Falkland were looking to sell their operation. That same year, D’Ambros and her family started their immigration paperwork and, in March 2018, made the move and started operations as quickly as possible.

Soon after the move, D’Ambros started to notice things in her new country that wouldn’t happen in Argentina.

“We live in the farm and we don’t close our door. I only close the gate if I have to go out and on the weekend,” said D’Ambros. “We live here really safe.”

An unexpected aspect of Canadian living for D’Ambros is the sense of community created by farmers in the region and other residents in the area.

“Our neighbour is really nice, he has helped us a lot. He’s like our advisor so when we don’t know what to do or where to buy things we always go and ask him,” D’Ambros said.

Read more: Okanagan woman urges public not to fear bees

Read more: Vernon beekeeper concerned after spike of deaths in bee population

When a fire broke out and levelled a neighbour’s home in an hour, she watched as the people of Falkland came to their aid.

“We went to help them, the other neighbours came to help him and the other neighbours came to help him. And people on the road stopped and also helped,” D’Ambros said. “It was for me my first time seeing that – how people could work together and help.”

Onyx currently has 300 hives scattered throughout the Shuswap but D’Ambros says this year they will reach 500.

If you would like to taste honey made in B.C. or Argentina, Honey Onyx Apiary will be attending the downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market on Saturday, June 22.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

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A forklift used to move frames and hives around the farm at Honey Onyx Apiary on Friday, June 14. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Daniela D’Ambros, originally from Argentina, moved to Canada in 2018 to start Honey Onyx Apiary. The company hopes to have 500 beehives in operation this year. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

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