Mountain State Honey Company, a Tucker County business owned and operated by Alisa and Paul Poling, was featured in the August issue of American Bee Journal, a monthly magazine dedicated to the beekeeping industry. The six-page article, written by Mary and Bill Weaver, examines the history and growth of the operation and features 13 color photographs, including the one the one above.
As the article explains, Mountain State Honey Company began as a hobby for Paul in 1981. As the business grew, the couple expanded their home in Hambleton and finally moved to a commercial building in Parsons. Today, Mountain State Honey employees both Polings, their son-in-law, and several other full and part-time employees. They maintain 1,300 hives of bees that produce a wide variety of honey, including Basswood, Tulip Poplar, Autumn Olive, Honeysuckle and Goldenrod. Pollination services also are an important part of the company's operation. Staff transport bees to Delaware each year to pollinate orchard fruits, melons, cucumbers and pumpkins. They also typically send four tractor-trailer loads of bees to Modesto, Calif., in the fall to pollinate almonds.
Paul has been employed for 24 years as an apiarist by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, inspecting bees throughout the central mountains and Eastern Panhandle of the state. He finds time for his own bees mainly on weekends. Alisa oversees the extracting, packaging and shipping operation for Mountain State and manages the company's accounts and payroll. She also sells honey products at fairs and festivals throughout the state and personally delivers many orders. Mountain State Honey Company recently was recognized as the top seller in its division by its largest customer Tamarack, "The Best of West Virginia," in Beckley.
Pictured, from left, are Billy Dennis; Steve Evans; Betty DiBacco; Crystal Nelson; Alisa Poling, co-owner of Mountain State Honey Company; grandson Jacob Dennis; Paul Poling, co-owner of Mountain State Honey Company; Brandon Dent; and Benjamin Ross.
American Bee Journal, "The Beekeeper's Companion Since 1891," is published in Hamilton, Ill. Visit www.americanbeejournal.com for more information.