Susana Pop is a senior woman from Cluj-Napoca who transformed her passion for beekeeping into a small family business that she manages together with her husband. It all started 23 years ago when she retired, because she loved it and because she wants to give health to other people.
”I worked for 33 years in a factory and after I retired, I became a beekeeper together with my husband”.
I met her at Mihai Viteazu Food Market in Cluj-Napoca at a stand with apicultural products. I was curious to learn more about bees, bee products, so I asked her. We talked and in the end, I left home with a new life story that I want to share with you.
Where you are from, how did you become a beekeeper and for long have you been doing?
I was born the village Sălicea that is 16 kilometers away from Cluj-Napoca. I grew up in a modest family with 4 siblings. I always liked to learn so I went to school. I used to walk every day 3 kilometers to get there. My parents could not afford to put me in the university, so I took a job at a pulp mill that paid for my studies in the petrochemical sector.
I worked in the factory as a workshop manager for 33 years, and after I retired, I became a beekeeper together with my husband. I fell in love with apiculture because of my brother-in-law who kept bees as a hobby. He and my sister had no children, so I used to go and help them extract the honey from time to time.
I liked it, I had ambition and I wanted to know more. So I did a qualification course in apiculture. I received a few hives from my sister, some from my husband’s sister, and we started to work. Now we have 48 hives that we keep in a beautiful garden at Nădăşel.
What are the main problems you have to deal with?
The last two years have been very bad for apiculture. Last year we lost almost half of the hives because of the cold. The same happened this year. It was cold until mid-April – you saw it too. Another problem is the government which is not helping us at all. But we don’t complain, our two daughters and our sons-in-law help us the best way they can. We manage.
”I recommend the whole range of bee products because they are 100% natural. The bees know what to choose from nature, and they select only what is good”.
How interested are Romanians in bee products? What the most popular product you have?
Romanian used to buy only honey. However, in the recent years people have become more informed and more educated in this area. They are more and more interested in the whole range of apicultural products, whether we are talking about pollen, honeycombs, propolis tincture, or type of honey that are less well known like the Forest honey. People realized that the products sold in the stores are not as good, so they prefer to buy from local producers.
Why do you recommend the bee products? And what advice do you have for those who buy from you?
More and more people are looking to buy clean products. I recommend them the whole range of bee products because they are 100% natural. The bees know what to choose from nature, and they choose only what is good. I also have some tips, of course. First, it’s very important to choose the right product: whether you want to treat a certain problem or just do a health cure.
”I have always liked fair and honest people, so I recommend everyone to be like that. I think this is one of the most important things in life”.
I’m always recommending people to buy the least processed products like raw pollen. For example, when it is dried, the raw pollen loses about 30% of its qualities. The raw pollen should be kept in the freezer to preserve its properties. The difference between raw and dry pollen is like between grass and hay, understand?
If you like to put honey in your tea, do not put it when it’s hot because it loses its qualities. If you have crystallized honey, you can bring it to its original state if you put it in a jar with water that has around 40-50 ˚C. Do not put the honey in boiling water.
And if you want an advice that has nothing to do with apiculture, I have always liked fair and honest people, so I recommend everyone to be like that. I think this is one of the most important things in life.