French Hill is Online by Adam Foster Collins

Happy New Year!

As I write this, I’m the only full-time employee of Mike Palmer at French Hill. That’s not as exclusive a position as it may sound, as we’re in the grip of winter here in Vermont, and there’s not a lot going on.

Mike has long been active in beekeeping discussions online, but he has never taken the leap to having his own website. It’s an effort and expense he’s never really needed to tackle. But it has always seemed (to me at least) to be a bit of a shame, as there are a lot of people out there who are interested in learning more about Mike and his work. From whatever distant point they reside in, they’ve searched for Mike’s place on the internet and they’ve been disappointed.

People from all sorts of backgrounds work for Mike at points throughout the year. They are teachers, retired military, arborists, other professional beekeepers, students - all kinds of people come and go. In my life outside of bees, I’ve had a 20 year career as a graphic designer and I have talked with Mike on and off for years about building him a website. This winter, I decided to get it done.

So here it is. A beginning at least. It provides a mostly photographic insight into the day-to-day experience of working with Mike Palmer and his crew of interesting characters at French Hill Apiaries.

I hope you enjoy it.

A little known fact about Mike Palmer is how deeply he loves maple flavored soft ice cream, which is locally referred to as a ‘maple creemee’. We have a spot in Swanton, Vermont that uses real maple syrup in theirs and we regularly stop during the season to indulge. French Hill is usually responsible for the consumption of dozens of maple creemees between May and October - which is when the creemee place closes for the season. The other day, when Mike and I were driving in this near-zero winter snow, he said to me, “I know it sounds crazy, but I sure could use a maple creemee!” If they stayed open all year, Mike would do his best to keep them in business.

It occurs to me as I look at all of the pictures I’ve assembled here for the launch of the site, that one person who never appears in the photos - is me. I’m behind the camera in all of them. So I thought I’d include this one picture of myself and Mike from last season. I think you can actually see Mike’s love of creemees in this photo.

So, as we sit here in the grip of winter, let’s raise our cones to the New Year. Here’s to the coming of a new season, and the promise of another kick at the can.



Adam Foster Collins, Mike Palmer and two  regular  sized maple creemees - Swanton, Vermont 2018.

Adam Foster Collins, Mike Palmer and two regular sized maple creemees - Swanton, Vermont 2018.