Gilbert Wolfe has always been sweet on bees. As a child, he spent hours observing honeybees in the fields of northern Alberta where he grew up. His first summer job was extracting honey for a local beekeeper. When he was sixteen, Gilbert convinced his father to buy him fifty beehives. Countless stings later, Gilbert extracted his first honey crop in an old granary and a beekeeping business was born.
Hard work and sweet success.
Over 25 years later, Gilbert and his wife Sharon have grown that initial honey crop into Canada’s largest organic apiary with full production, packaging and distribution capabilities. Many things have changed since those early days. The granary has been replaced by a 40,000-square-foot processing facility. Fifty hives have become thousands and 22 full-time employees help to produce and process high volumes of organic honey every year. What hasn’t changed is Gilbert and Sharon’s commitment to creating the highest quality organic honey entirely from the beautiful Peace River region they call home.
Fourteen-year-old Gilbert Wolfe has his first summer job extracting honey for a local commercial beekeeper.
Gilbert convinces his father to buy him 50 beehives, and extracts his first honey crop in a granary.
At 18, Gilbert has 300 hives and bolts three granaries together to use as a honey house and storage area.
The Canadian border closes to the imports of US honeybee stock. Beehive prices plummet, forcing many beekeepers out of business. Going against the flow, Gilbert buys out a neighbour and expands to 900 hives. That year, he produces his all-time biggest honey crop of 400 pounds per hive.
The Wolfes purchase a 4,000-hive beekeeping operation in Guy, Alberta – one of the largest apiaries in Canada at the time.
Gilbert travels to Germany to learn about certified organic beekeeping from some of the most advanced beekeeping companies in the world. It’s the first trip of many to collaborate with experts in Europe. The apiary receives its first organic certification.
In addition to supplying bulk honey, the Wolfes expand their business to include a retail brand. They build a food manufacturing facility to process and package their own honey.
Peace River Honey becomes the first apiary in Canada verified as non-GMO.
Peace River Honey is listed with Costco Canada
Peace River Honey selected as a finalist in the marketing category of the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction
Peace River Honey launches into the USA at Sprouts Farmers Market and Erewhon