Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maxant 3100H

We recently purchased a Maxant 3100H extractor. An extractor is machine that spins combs of honey like a centrifuge. It separates the honey from the comb in a way that we can give it back to the bees so they don't have to build it all over again. For us, this single piece of equipment was a large expense.

We drove out to Ayer, MA to get it. We could have bought a similarly specified extractor for less elsewhere, but this one is made in Massachusetts. By this I don't mean it's assembled from parts in MA but it's made "whole cloth" right here in the greatest state in America. Let me point out that we have marriage equality and we also invented the truly public library. The American Revolution was born here and Aerosmith is from Boston. Really, what more can you ask for? It's important for us to support people with similar values to ours and to support businesses that deliver good lives for the families of their workers.

The drum of the extractor comes there as sheets and is bent and welded right in Ayer by third generation metal workers that get paid a living wage. The baskets that hold the frames are made in Worcester, even the nuts and bolts are sourced from American companies. The motor and motor control were foreign made, from England and Taiwan respectively but when we spoke the to the owner of Maxant he said he tried to source American components but couldn't find any parts domestically that would work as well.

As much as we are able to, we like to know that our money goes to people who are able to earn a decent wage and live a good life. The purchase of our Maxant extractor is one way of making sure that happens.

It was also important for us to meet the people that made our extractor. We now have a relationship with our supplier, which is something I cannot get from an online catalog. Yeah, so it would have been cheaper and easier not to drive to Ayer and just to have had a Chinese made extractor delivered to our door, but we didn't.

We don't ever plan to get huge and be some giant company. We just want to do what we enjoy doing, keeping bees healthy and productive and learning about the world in the process. Sometimes that means identifying flowers and sometimes that means driving to Ayer to meet the people that made something we need. I think this extractor is made better than the than most I have seen and I think it will handle our needs forever. So, for the rest of my life I can look at this piece of equipment and know I have done right by someone.

All our equipment is American made. Out hives are made either in Pennsylvania or Maine and out foundation and frames are made in California or here on the east coast. We recently switched to the California supplier of foundation, the wax the bees are given to start drawing comb on, because they used domestically sourced bees wax that tests as chemical free. We also feel the product is more durable and longer lasting.

Our glass jars come from Andler Packaging whose Springfield MA office has served generations of Pioneer Valley folks. Yes, the glass jars are American made. Do you get it yet? We're serious about this.

Whenever we can we choose American made, and the more local the better. I'm not a patriot, not in the sense of a flag waving, but we do believe that our money should flow to companies that support their workers. American Made helps us know that's true, but there's nothing like meeting people face to face to know we got it right.

Bye the way, it's also why we're proud that our honey is availble exclusively through River Valley Market.

Massachusetts, rock on.

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