Most any day at Austin Family Orchards you can find Eric and Clay Carney suiting up to go to work. "This right here is a smoker and we smoke the bees and it calms them down," says older brother Eric.
That's usually when the boys go for the gold, gold in the form of honey.
Eric examines one of the hives frames. "There is a little bit of honey here see that cap there that's just a tad bit of honey." Since its winter the bees are not producing any honey. They are just eating it.
The two Carney boys along with their cousin, William Austin, who lives in Colorado Springs started their honey business last year. "When pappa got us some bees," says Eric.
The boys came up with a couple names for their business like the "Three Buzzketeers," or "The Three Abeegos," but after a while they decided on a name that was a little less cute. The Austin Family Honey Company. Clay says in 20 years a cute name might not fit as well.
Right now the boys have eight hives but hope to someday have 40.
"Yah, that's a lot of bees," says Eric. And a lot of bees means a lot of honey. "I haven't spent the time to count," says Clay about how many bees are in each hive.
Their first year the Austin Family Honey company sold $5,000 worth of honey. "We did pretty good, we broke even," says Eric. Right now the bees are laying low waiting for spring. But come June the honey will begin to flow and the two brothers will call their cousin for reinforcement. Clay says, "When we are going to extract he comes over and helps." This ensures Austin Family Honey Company stays buzzing for quite some time.
You can find Austin Family Honey in 15 stores statewide. The average price for a jar of honey is around $7 a pound. The boys say they are hoping to make enough money to put themselves through college.