Gaston & Catawba

He stays busy with farm, beekeeping

Tim Roberts is like the honeybees he keeps on his farm in Newton. “I only go inside to eat and sleep,” he says. Otherwise, he's buzzing around between the hives, the barn and the fields on his 30 acres called Shady Oaks Farm.

Originally from Ohio, Roberts grew up in farm country but lived in subdivisions. He remembers hanging out on his friends' farms, smoking cigars and having apple fights. Some of those friends bought farms of their own right after high school.

Roberts, 53, took a bit longer to adopt the agricultural life. He's owned the farm on Yount Road for just four years. Roberts and his wife, Judy, have four acres of pumpkins and fall squash, two acres of thornless blackberries, 1,800 blueberry bushes, 100 fruit trees, nine varieties of tomatoes, along with rhubarb, cucumbers, peppers, corn and other vegetables.

The front entrance, where a few feeding bees greet visitors to the farm, is flanked by sunflowers. “One way you can tell about the health of your property is the variety of bees,” Roberts says, pointing out three types of bees on the flowers.

Two years ago, Roberts decided to try his hand at beekeeping. He says that having bees around significantly increases his crops' produce. So far he has collected more than 1,000 pounds of honey.

Roberts has enjoyed becoming part of his community, where neighbors ride golf carts between their farms and stop by to chat on the front porch.