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Permian graduates start beekeeping business in San Marcos - Odessa American: Local News

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All the buzz Permian graduates start beekeeping business in San Marcos

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Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2019 8:00 am

Permian High School graduate and beekeeper Lexi Nutter works on extracting honey from a hive in an area near San Marcos.

Prior to enrolling at Texas State University, Permian High School graduate Cody Hughes believed the rest of his life would be spent in the oilfields of West Texas.

Hughes received a life-changing experience after he graduated from high school in 2014 and moved to the Texas Hill Country.

About a year and a half ago, Hughes and his girlfriend-business partner Lexi Nutter formed Buzz in the Hills — a company based out of San Marcos that performs apiary consultations and management, creates pollinator habitats and uses beeswax, honey, organic and wild herbs for products.

“It’s night and day,” Hughes said about the difference between Odessa and San Marcos. “I really thought I was just going to work in the oilfields my whole life. I didn’t really see anything outside of that.”

Nutter, 23, graduated from Permian in 2013 and then earned a bachelor’s of science degree from Texas State in agriculture business with a concentration in horticulture. She is continuing her education with a year-long study for an herbalist program called Sacred Journey School of Herbalism in Austin.

The ability to bridge her affinities of beekeeping and horticulture is what helped Nutter grow her business.

“This business has turned into all of my passions put into one,” Nutter said. “As I was studying horticulture, I was always fascinated what plants have to offer us. That kind of took me down the rabbit hole of really studying herbal medicine and how we can use the plants as medicine in different beneficial ways.”

Some of the products Buzz in the Hills sells include raw honey, handmade soap, beard balm, lip balm, healing salve and candles.

Permian High School graduates and beekeepers Cody Hughes and Lexi Nutter at their sales stand.

In addition to using beeswax, honey, organic and wild herbs, Hughes, 23, said solar energy is used to melt down the wax down and the business uses biodegradable packaging and limits the amount of plastic.

“That’s definitely one of the coolest parts is seeing the bees wax going into so many things that we make,” Hughes said. “All of them are good for your body and good for the skin. None of them are made with man-made chemicals. It’s all natural and raw ingredients. It’s something that we are very conscientious about. You are what you put into your body and what you put on your body.

“We try to keep things as natural as possible.”

Nutter said she stumbled upon the apiculture club while earning her degree at Texas State. The university had two beehives on campus.

While in the apiculture club, the beekeeping passion was ignited when Nutter and Hughes relocated a beehive from a water-heater box. Hughes said the bees were going to be exterminated if they couldn’t get the insects rehomed. Business increased when they came into contact with DreamWorks Bees in Wimberley — a city about 22 miles northwest of San Marcos.

Buzz in the Hills is currently a part-time job as Hughes finishes his degree in business at Texas State. Hughes said he believes it can turn into a full-time job and he’s excited to see what the future holds.

“It depends how rapid things grow in the next two to five years,” Hughes said. “With the way things are looking now, it’s looking like we are going to be very busy.”

Hughes explained owning a business at times has felt like a backward roller coaster, but other times it has been rewarding. He said there are hoops and hurdles to go through when starting a business, so it can be a little intimidating.

Nonetheless, Nutter said both her and Hughes’ parents have been very supportive in their business venture.

“At first, it was kind of an odd thing, because we didn’t have a lot of background,” Nutter said. “We just happened upon it and fell in love with it. They are really happy for us and we are pursuing the things that bring us joy.

“They probably are a little sad that we might not come back to Odessa, because I don’t think there’s a lot of beekeeping in that area. Other than that, they are really happy for us.”