On Wednesday morning, the grand opening of a new business was held in Northumberland. The Skoba family, Yuriy. Larysa and son Yan, welcomed visitors to their Farmgate Honey House at 331 Old Wooler Road in Codrington. The store contains jars of honey and products of over 200 beehives they maintain. Although the family's extensive knowledge of beekeeping and the products associated with the industry is intriguing, the family's personal story is just as interesting.
Twelve years ago, Yuriy Skoba and his wife Larysa decided to emigrate from the Ukraine because a government crackdown would not allow them to continue using their mother tongue, Russian. Rather than battle the government, the family, including the 14 year old Yan packed up and moved to Canada. Yuriy was an electrical engineer and Larysa was a classical violinist. But the move and the lack of familiarity with the English language meant Yuriy could not obtain continuous employment in his profession. But the family liked Canada and was attracted to the rural lifestyle, A friend told Yuriy there was money to be made in raising bees and selling honey. The family was not told of the hard work involved.
The family is largely self-taught on the methods of the industry but committed to making a success. They searched on line and found a farm for sale near Codrington and established their business. All three are fluent in English and son Yan, now 26, speak with only a trace of an accent. The family is devoted to the business and to each other. They are a true asset to Northumberland County.