Madison Magazine Sept. 2020 issue:

Marsden’s Pure Honey

Dale Marsden’s brother-in-law roped him into beekeeping in 1963. In 1978, he returned from the Air Force, expanded to 50 hives and has been a vendor at DCFM ever since. He sells honey in jars, bears, combs and sticks in 20 different flavors — often while wearing an iconic beehive hat. “The bees roam freely and individual flowers give the honey different flavors and colors,” he says. The kaleidoscope of flavors is the result of moving bees to different crops. Clover, wildflower and goldenrods are among the plants that grow on his farm 2 miles south of McFarland. Whenever he wants to create a new flavor, he just moves the bees. In spring, he moves them to apple orchards while their hives are developing. In fall, the bees visit pumpkin patches to produce pumpkin blossom honey. In July, he moves them to fields of blooming sunflowers. “Sometimes I take my bees up north to get the dark, fruity flavored  purple loosestrife honey,” Marsden says. DCFM represents more than half of Marsden’s Pure Honey sales, so COVID-19 has had a big impact on the business. “On a good day at the market I’ll sell like $1,400 or something, and a week here without doing the Dane County Market I’m selling maybe at the most $200 a week,” Marsden says.
FIND THEM: Purchase Marsden’s Honey at Eugster’s Farm Market. Marsden’s also participates in Willow Island pick-ups. Marsden delivers locally and ships honeys nationally, for a small charge.