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  • katie


Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Not many people can boast of inheriting a family beekeeping hobby, but Christina Fabris can

say she has that one on her bingo card, even though the line of succession included a few

sharp angles.

Beekeeping was initially the dominion of Christina’s uncle, who made his apiary an extension of

his farm. It was a passion that seemed well-suited for the Italian countryside, a practice that

formed a symbiotic relationship with the flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the

community. Natural. Hands-on. Eat what you produce.

While her brother was enthusiastic about helping to tend the hives during their European visits,

Christina possessed more of an artist’s spirit. Her professional aspirations involved facility with

languages, foreign service, and creating beautiful works for display in galleries. That was where

she was headed.

But life can sometimes remind you that wherever you go, there you are.

After her brother’s professional life became too hectic to properly maintain his own hives here

in Wilmington, Christina went from being his part-time assistant to the full-time caretaker.

Regardless of how reluctant she was to do so as a young girl, adult Christina realized that she

did have a stronger interest in honey than just eating it. So she began investigating more about

the business side of beekeeping, instead of sinking a lot of personal investment into keeping

the apiary afloat.

Turns out there was a lot more to learn.

Beekeeping has been infiltrated by many of the same concerns that now plague the

commercial farming market. Owners can become preoccupied with quantity over quality, and

will go to all kinds of lengths to achieve it. Artificial insemination instead of natural bee

husbandry. Overcrowded, stressful hives.

For something that has been a mostly organic practice for thousands of years, beekeeping and

honey production are now full-on industrial.

But not with Iris and Callisto’s Apiary.

Their honey has rightfully earned the designation of being Certified Naturally Grown. Free of

chemicals and all manner of other human intervention. Christina works with some of her

construction business clients to locate her hives in areas in and around Wilmington that will

leave the bees largely undisturbed and free to happily make their honey, at a pace and with a

flavor that reflects their peaceful communion with their surroundings.

As it should be, and has been, for millennia.

As a part of the Wilmington Kitchen Collective, Christina and her partner Joe Csoltko look

forward to forming a hive mind with the other members of the cohort. The kitchen will be quite helpful for enhancing their product line with more natural flavor infusions and other honey-

inspired offerings. But they see the collaborative support system the Collective can provide in the same vein as a farmer’s market: lots of different flavors and products, fueled by passion

and care, built to uplift and support each individual business to the benefit of all.

As for the artsy career Christina envisioned back in college? It may have morphed into

something different, but the foundation is still there. It’s what gives the names and labels of her honey-based products and servers a special flair. It gives the exterior of her hive boxes an

added dose of panache. It sneaks its way into presentations and set-ups when she’s working

the in-person retail side of the business. And now Christina has kids of her own, who are

learning beekeeping and contributing by her side, as she reluctantly did years ago in Italy.

Full-circle moments. Or perhaps a spiral, like the petals of a flower, unlocking the key to a

future full of sweetness.

For more information on the Kitchen Collective’s mission, partner organizations, and other resources, visit them online at

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