Until a couple of weeks ago, the artisanal honey made by
Víctor Rodríguez and Aurora Gabriela Chiver
was known almost only in Aranjuez, apart from some tourists who, after discovering their store during a visit to the city of gardens and fountains,
"expect next year's harvest to buy it
," acknowledges Aurora.
But the recent
Food campaign of Spain,
The richest country in the world
- launched by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - has taken them a little out of anonymity, since they are
one of the young and small producers who participate in the spot
in which the men's soccer team has collaborated, with names like Dani Carvajal or Unai Simón, among others.
Aurora and Victor working with one of the hives
However, the lives of Víctor (from Madrid) and Aurora (Romanian, settled in Spain for half her life, 18 years old) have not changed and continue to be marked by
the rhythms of their 70 hives, their store
and their two children, 5 and 3 years and the fact is that "you have to juggle to balance everything", this couple of beekeepers commit in unison.
A little over four years ago, they got involved, more than the blanket, the field at the head and
launched into the adventure of producing and selling honey.
Gone are 16 years of work in the hotel industry
and ahead the unknown path in beekeeping opened.
They saw it clearly and on a dry land they had in Aranjuez (
"it was a farm for leisure, where nothing could be grown because everything was dying",
recalls Víctor) they
five hives, at the same time that they opened, in April 2018, a
store specializing in honey:
Colmenita del Tajo.
Victor, at the Aranjuez estate.
"I love nature and animals, and since
I was drawn to the world of bees, I told Aurora why not try it
Said and done, despite the fact that beekeeping does not come from the family.
"I've done some courses, but Victor is completely self-taught.
He has an amazing ability to
," explains Aurora.
Víctor adds: "I have learned on my own, that way I understand it better.
By trying and failing, working with them in the field, observing them...
They tell you what they need and what the path is."
A continuous path and learning for four years.
The first time he opened a hive he ran away.
"They were very strong. It was May, in the middle of spring, and feeling 80,000 bees flying around your face is impressive," recalls Víctor.
Own production honey.
The beginnings were hard and not very productive.
"We didn't have many materials and we
extracted it the way it was done in the old days, with pressure
," says Víctor.
From that first harvest they got about three kilos.
Today, with 70 hives (
80,000 bees in each of them),
things are quite different.
After a lot of work and greater experience,
they obtain 500 kilos from the Aranjuez farm
(in the Castillo de Oreja area), which they collect at the end of spring, and between 200 and 300 kilos that they collect in the hives of the Cuenca mountain range in fall.
But it is still
a limited production and, above all, sustainable, because
in the Colmenita del Tajo it is the insect itself that marks the harvest.
"We respect the cycle of the bee and each hive has a different one
," says Aurora.
the moment are Victor's eyes.
"You observe them and discover when it is. That is what makes us have
a high-quality product.
Each hive can make
honey with different nuances of color and flavor, because they put more thyme, rockrose, cardoon... Each height of honey is different"
, explains Rodríguez.
They also dispatch fresh pollen.
The one they now produce
is multifloral from Aranjuez, "but there are times when it's broom.
This one is
and it usually happens every other year."
Sierra honey is what they call the one they get in Cuenca, "with a lot of lavender
and hints of savory, thyme, even blackberry and clover," says Víctor.
And how do you already know?
eating the honeycomb directly
, very dense," says Víctor, while Aurora makes use of the most common comment among her clients: "It
's the honey he ate when he was little
High quality in which the immediate extraction and packaging processes have a lot to do with it:
"It goes from the hive to the jar," adds Víctor and then to the store
, where it is sold (11.50 euros per kilo; 7 euros on average; online the prices vary).
And everything, like Juan Palomo,
done by Víctor and Aurora alone.
The store sells different products with honey: from beers and chocolates to cosmetics.
Due to its limited production, customers usually "reserve it, because before the end of the year there will be no more.
We lack production
," acknowledges this beekeeper who listens to the bees.
That is why they have in mind
"increasing to 300 hives,"
says Aurora, who is mainly in charge of the store, where they
sell everything from honey from other manufacturers and mead to beers with honey
and cosmetic products.
In addition, they have resumed activities that were put on hold due to Covid, such as
sponsoring a beehive and other experiences around honey.
And it all starts with tasting a delicious honey.
Colmenita del Tajo,
Colmenita del Tajo,
Gobernador, 32 (Aranjuez).
Telephone: 667 05 90 34.
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