Artisanal raw Minnesota honey maker Ames Farm was founded November 1st, 1994 with the purchase of eight acres of land on Oak Lake in Watertown, Minnesota. The bees and a small team of amazing people make up the Ames Farm family today.
In the spring of 1996, Brian was standing in the kitchen of his 1905 farmhouse eating some dandelion honey from freshly made comb. He realized that each 40-pound box of honey (called a super) produced by a hive, was unique to a time period from April to October, and to the floral sources of its geographical location. Wanting to capture and share this moment in time of honeybee artistry, Ames Farm Single-Source Honey was born. Special flavors, aroma, and colors are preserved and represent the differences between each location, hive, and time of season. During the long honey production season in Minnesota, a series of consecutive blooms occur starting with dandelions in the spring, dutch clover in June, basswood trees in early July, sweet clover in later July, and prairie flowers and fall wildflowers into September. Some of the supers of honey come from one major floral source (massive bloom), and others like fall wild flowers, are a collection of multiple smaller blooms.
Each jar of Single Source Honey has the location, hive number and floral source printed on the label, making it unique and specific to a time and place in Minnesota.
What is now Ames Farm was once part of an 80 acre piece homesteaded by John McCormack from the government when Abraham Lincoln was President. It was listed in the abstract as a military bounty patent land transaction on July 1, 1861. The current farmstead, now 7 acres, was split off in 1885 for $75.00.
In the early 1900's, the property went back and forth in ownership to the Tabitha Society of MN, which was a Swedish Lutheran Church group, who were the founding fathers of the well known Bethesda Hospital in the Cities.
More than once in the early history of the property, the local lumberyard Fullerton Lumber, which is still in operation in Watertown today, had a lien on the property for unpaid debts. It's hard to imagine how anyone made a go of this place with so little acreage during an era where commuting was not easy. Numerous short term owners bought and sold the property and it has seen some hard times.
Most notable, though, was Herman Jahnke. He lived here from December 12, 1922 until December 17, 1955 and listed himself as "a single man" in the property abstract when he sold the place. There is a cement door stop with his name on it that we still use on the farm.
Brian Fredericksen purchased the farm in 1994 from David and Shilon Bedford. David is a well known horticulturist that created the Honeycrisp, Zestar and Sweet Tango apples at the University of Minnesota. Many of the Honeycrisp trees at Ames Farm are some of the original trees that were planted in the 1980s before the now hugely popular variety was released to the public. We currently have about 800 beehives, some of which have been around for multiple seasons.