Chairman of the Board, Hilo Hattie and Pomare International, Beekeeper
Although Jim Romig says that his bees would probably be more productive if they lived in an area that was a little warmer and drier, it’s hard to imagine a better place to be buzzing around. Romig’s estate, on 2.5 acres of rolling hills high atop Tantalus, is a flowering daydream, with countless orchids, irises, as well as large, blossom-filled lychee, grapefruit and koa trees.
“When that thing is in full bloom, it is literally humming,” says Romig, pointing to a Tasmanian koa tree just off his driveway. “Bees will fly up to three miles to find flowers, but usually they don’t have to go very far.”
Romig, who has three hives in a jungle-like corner of his property, has been bee keeping for a little more than two years. He harvests about 200 pounds of honey two or three times a year, which he processes in a nearby tool shed. The founder of Hilo Hattie’s says that koa flowers give his slightly dark honey a nutty flavor. He’s working on a specially designe label for his honey in time for his Christmas harvest, and is considering selling bottles in some of his company’s stores.
“I find bee keeping very relaxing,” says Romig. “You have to move slowly, be very thorough and you can’t get excited. Bees are like horses, they can sense when you don’t know what you’re doing. And, yes, they can smell fear.”