I was raised by my grandfather Franklin Peace, who kept more than one hundred hives in Big Sur and Carmel Valley from 1940-2010. He was known as “The Beekeeper of Big Sur,” making honey deliveries to redwood cabins tucked in the Santa Lucia wilderness. A descendant of the pioneering Post and Grimes families, he learned beekeeping from his father, and together they tended bees for the nuns at the Carmelite Monastery. When their Japanese neighbors were imprisoned during World War II, my grandfather and great-grandfather protected their friends’ vacant home by putting a beehive on their front porch. In 1960, Grandpa tore the seats out of an old Army bus and built a honey factory inside, where he harvested up to six tons of honey a year and taught me the gentle art of beekeeping.
Now I am a beekeeper. I’ve kept bees on the roof of the San Francisco Chronicle, in various community gardens and in my backyard. I wrote a newspaper column about beekeeping: Honeybee Chronicles.