Where Maryland Beekeeping Meets Maryland Painting

April 27, 2014 | By | Comments (0)
Kara Brook; Courtesy Paige Beasley

Kara Brook; Courtesy Paige Beasley

Sure, most artists are dedicated to their craft. But bees where most people draw the line on their passions. Not Kara Brook, who became a beekeeper to make her own paint. Less trips to the Hobby Lobby, after all!

As a painter who works with encaustic (paint made from beeswax and resin), Baltimore native Kara Brook found herself in constant need of beeswax.

After over-boiling one too many batches of the costly material, she decided to start producing it on her own. She completed a beekeeping class, worked with a seasoned mentor, and then purchased two hives of her own.

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

From there, she let the bees get busy on her 102-acre farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The process yielded plenty of wax and an even sweeter byproduct, honey, so she decided to package and sell the latter.

Each of her seasonal blends has its own distinct flavor profile shaped by the flowers, fruit trees, and berry bushes on her property.

Now 18 hives strong, Kara is rolling out lip balm and honey-infused vodka next. Clearly, business is buzzing.

The Pairings
“I use the honey in tea, as well as with Greek yogurt and cheese. At The Capital Grille, in Baltimore, the chef drizzles my honey over a phenomenal beet salad.”

The Flavor
“The nectar for our fall 2013 harvest is from wildflowers in the late summer months on the Wye River in Queenstown. It’s mildly floral in nature with a strong earthy finish.”

The Name
“When I was just painting, Waxing Kara was my social media handle. It still fits because ‘waxing’ means to grow or become.”

The Process
“I open the hives weekly April through October during the harvest season to make sure the bees are still active. On harvest day, I’ll puncture holes in the wax cappings, place the frames into a centrifuge, and spin the honey out of the comb.”

Take a look at Waxing Kara Honey.

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