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SWEET REVENGE: Dickinson honey business recovers from tornado

DICKINSON, N.D. -- The sweet aroma of honey is once again filling Ed's Honey Co., some two months after a tornado brought business to a halt. The July 8 tornado hit during the prime honey harvesting season, tearing apart the roof, demolishing a w...

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James Stroud of Cape Town, South Africa, removes honeycomb from a honey super at Ed's Honey Co. in Dickinson, N.D. A honey super is used by beekeepers to house bees and their honey.

DICKINSON, N.D. -- The sweet aroma of honey is once again filling Ed's Honey Co., some two months after a tornado brought business to a halt.

The July 8 tornado hit during the prime honey harvesting season, tearing apart the roof, demolishing a wall and destroying two machines used to process honey.

"We were gearing up to start processing," owner Ed Fetch said. "The tornado hit, and we didn't know what we were going to do."

Family members and friends pitched in to repair the equipment. After help from area businesses and fellow beekeepers, Ed's Honey began operating again about a week ago.

Ed Fetch said his brother helped rewire the building, and local contractors made it a priority to repair the roof and walls.

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"The people that really went out of their way to help us -- you really have to be thankful to these people," he said.

Shirley Fetch, Ed's wife, estimates the family has had four loads of honey go out this honey season, each load with about 40,000 pounds, or 64 barrels per semitrailer at 55 gallons per barrel.

The beeswax is separated from the honey and sold, as well.

Ed Fetch said the wax is used in such products as makeup, candles and lip balms.

"It takes 10 pounds of honey to make 1 pound of wax," he said.

At the end of summer, the bees will be shipped to Texas.

Ed Fetch said some of the family members will go back to Texas in January to prepare the bees to go to California for almond pollination.

After purchasing beehives from a farmer near Regent, N.D., about 50 years ago, Ed's Honey is coming up on its 43rd year of business.

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"He was doing it when I met him," Shirley Fetch said with a chuckle. "We were married 12 years before I ever got stung."

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