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Miels d'Anicet : A Passion For Apiculture

September 20, 2016
The hand of a beekeeper looking for the queen in a bee frame

275 kilometers separate Montreal from Ferme-Neuve – the Upper Laurentians location where Anicet Desrochers and Anne-Virginie Schmidt decided to settle. Now at the head of Miels d’Anicet, they dedicate their lives to the art of apiculture, the production and marketing of organic honey and bee-keeping education.

Landscape of the Miels d'Anicet farm in the Upper Laurentians

The family’s agricultural heritage pushed Anicet to complete university studies in Alberta and in California, in order to become a queen-bee breeding specialist, a rather rare expertise in the country. However, it is in Montreal that he met Anne-Virginie, while she was employed by a large consulting firm located in the heart of the downtown core. With the aspiration to start his own business and to obtain the organic certification, he was first introduced to his future partner under business terms. Little did she know, an unexpected twist of fate would cause Anne-Virginie to be seduced by the apiculture and abandon her urban life, joining Anicet on his journey and becoming invaluable to the success of his project.

To enable the company’s significant growth, the couple has been able to make their complementarity an undeniable and essential force to succeed in agriculture. Being a chartered accountant, Anne-Virginie initially had the responsibility to draft business and expansion plans, thereby allowing Anicet to concentrate on his core tasks – beehive development and queen-bee breeding in California – which make their farm singular amongst all others.

Beekeeper Drive
Artisan holding an organic honey jar of Miels d'Anicet
Honeycomb
A bunch of colourful beehives
Honeycomb dripping with honey

Our team had the opportunity to meet the dedicated entrepreneurs of Miels d’Anicet and engage in their daily activities as producers. From beekeeping to the manufacture of transformed products, we recognized a disarming authenticity and an inspiring passion in the work they do. We could sense pride as they shared their unique store. More than a livelihood, we quickly realized that apiculture allows them to travel in a way that stimulates their curiosity.

Apiculture is an integral part of our lives. There really is something deeper than just the job.Anne-Virginie

For them, the participating in organic farming was more than inevitable. Anne-Virginie says the thoroughness of these practices has always been at the heart of their activities, but that the added value of certification is certainly not to be overlooked. Indeed, it introduced them to an amazing distribution network, given the rarity of organic honey and the growing popularity of natural food stores.

Anne-Virginie Schmidt of Miels d'Anicet explaining honey production to the Oatbox team
The Oatbox team guided by Anne-Virginie Schmidt in the farm fields of Miels d'Anicet
The hand of a beekeeper looking for the queen in a bee frame
Honeycomb close-up
A piece of empty honeycomb

Anicet and Anne-Virginie, accomplices and associates alike, now both make a living from the farm’s resources. Initially, the Desrochers family lands had 100 beehives, which allowed a small distribution of honey in the region. Today, Miels d’Anicet has over 20 winter and 30 summer apiaries, which represent 1,200 hives in total, to reach a much larger and nationwide market.

The diversification of activities has done much to encourage business. Not only does the company specialize in beekeeping and honey distribution, it also offers a variety of gourmet products, an in-house honey wine production and a range of all-natural bath and body products under the label Melia.

Previously counting on their presence in several retail points to increase their visibility and notoriety, the entrepreneurs are now developing a new transactional website – which will be online very soon! – to directly serve their consumers. With this development, the Upper Laurentians farm can more effectively meet the growing demand from a contemporary and renewed enthusiasm for apiculture. More and more importance is attributed to honeybees, these hard workers who ensure crop diversity and the richness of our food landscape through their pollination.

Close-up of a beehive filled with bee frames
Piece of a bee frame in beekeeper's hand
A queen bee
Anicet Desrochers of Miels d'Anicet looking for a queen bee in a bee frame
Anicet Desrochers of Miels d'Anicet handling a queen bee for breeding

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