A sweet and sticky side business - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A sweet and sticky side business

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TRI-CITIES, WA - While doing a recent story about Columbia Basin Dive Rescue, we stumbled upon an interesting side business run by one of its members. 

For some people, it can take years to find a fulfilling hobby, but others find an attachment to something early and stick with it for the rest of their lives. Reporter Rex Carlin learned that Scott Ruppelius is one of the the latter.

"When I was 16, I went to the fair and there was a beekeeping booth there and my dad said, 'You want to do it?', and I said, 'Sure.'" said Ruppelius. "I was in wood shop at the time, so I went to my wood shop teacher and I built all my equipment. That was in the fall. The next spring, I got a package of bees and started from right there."

Ruppelius considers himself somewhere between small scale personal beekeeping and professional beekeeping. He says some commercial beekeepers could have anywhere between a couple thousand and 10,000 beehives operating, while personal beekeepers might only have a few.

Ruppelius has 500 scattered around Benton and Franklin Counties, and Scott says each hive produces around 100 pounds of honey...so Ruppelius produces 50,000 pounds of honey every year as a side gig.

"See, this side's almost empty, they're starting to work on that side right there," Ruppelius explained. "And this side is full of honey right here."

Ruppelius does all his own production work from start to finish, most of it in his shed; even labeling the jars.

But what do you do with all that honey?

Sell it, of course! Under the label Two Sisters Honey, a tribute to Ruppelius's two daughters.

"We sell at the farmers markets Thursday nights in Kennewick, Friday mornings in Richland, Saturday morning at the TRAC in Pasco, and Sunday afternoons on Keene Road across from Bethel Church," Ruppelius said.

A childhood hobby that has turned into a sweet side business for a member of Columbia Basin Dive Rescue.