Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

Bees In the Backyard

Matthew Pohl
Matthew Pohl Student safety advocate and local beekeeper, works diligently when handling his many hives in just his backyard!

Student safety advocate Matthew Pohl pulls on his white, heavy-duty beekeeper suit as he gets ready to face the black and yellow honeybees that have been working creating honey. He shields his face with a screen from the sharp stingers as he prepares to harvest the sticky yellow honey inside the hives.

Pohl runs a small local business selling all-natural honey. He raises the bees and makes the honey right in his backyard. This is where he came up with his business name, Out Back Honey. He’s turned his passion into a second successful career, all while overcoming challenges along the way

“I saw this as something cool and potentially a good business opportunity. I was afraid of bees, and I wanted to see if this fear was something to overcome,” Pohl said.

Pohl raises 12–25 beehives each year. In the summer, he collects swarms from others’ yards to move to his backyard. He then raises the bees in the newer location; this is where the honey-making process starts.

Although his daughter occasionally accompanies him, Pohl does all the work himself. After doing this for almost five years, he has mastered the art of making honey. The bees take about a month to make honey. From there, Pohl takes the boxes that contain the hives. Next, he takes the frame from the box and scrapes all of the wax into a bucket, where the honey falls out into a machine called an extractor that spins the honey at high speeds and separates it from the wax. After straining all the bits and pieces out of the honey, Pohl finally bottles the all-natural honey. Then he returns the frames to the bees, where they will store them for next year.

Pohl ensures that his customers are happy, but he also ensures that the bees are happy and healthy. He takes good care of them to ensure they’re well-kept and raised.

“My favorite part is probably when the bees are in a good mood. pulling the frames out, looking at them, and seeing all the different stages of regrowth,” Pohl said

His passion for his work and always trying to overcome challenges are inspiring to all. The challenges with having two jobs are never easy but Pohl handles it with ease. He hopes to take his business to the next level by selling the honey commercially. Or having a website right now, he just takes orders through Facebook.

“I just started watching YouTube videos by accident once and thought, man, this is kind of cool. And I watched. I studied, and I’m like, That’s a challenge. I got to try it,” Pohl said.

Pohl mainly sells to coworkers or anyone who reaches out to him. He makes different types of honey that he sells: regular, jalapeno, and hot honey. Pohl infuses the peppers into the honey, giving it just an extra kick. 

Most local people from the community buy from Phol. He sells mainly in the winter with the help of tea lovers and bakers who buy from him.

“If you have your honey around, drizzle it on some pizza. Oh my gosh, it’s a game changer!” teacher Chad Jettner said. 

 Pohl hopes that if he works hard enough he can start a website and sell beyond the community and possibly start to sell in stores.   

“Hoping I can get to the point where I can make enough money to truly support this hobby and I’m sure if I put hard work into this business it can go beyond the community” Pohl said.

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