It's probably no surprise that those who live Under The Bee Tree love all things bee...and so this field trip has been a loooong time in coming. See, we live about 20 minutes (give or take) from the BEST little honey farm, and it's only taken us 3 years to go visit. But visit we finally did, notebooks in hand, ready to learn something cool and taste something sweet.
Bennett's Honey Farm was started by Red and Ann Bennett, when a swarm of bees went through their yard, and they caught it. I love that- what a great object lesson! When the swarms of life come (and they will come!), you can either be scared and run, get mad and strike out, or harness it and make honey (and a great new venture)! It is still a family owned farm, currently owned by Chip and Taydee Vannoy. They produce, pack and distribute it all themselves, and they are certified organic and kosher. Not only that, but they operate 100% on solar power, even making more energy than they use. They also "gravity strain" their honey instead of filtering, which results in raw, beautifully natural honey that is full of healthy goodness. You can learn more by visiting them here.
When our crew walked in and they saw we had notebooks, they put a video "tour" on for us so the kids could take notes. The very coolest part of the shop is the real working beehive they have encased in a glass panel- amazing! There is a vent at the bottom that goes straight through the wall to the outside, so the bees can come and go as they please. We stood there and watched the bees for a mighty long time, and the kids took turns sketching in their notebooks and writing interesting facts they learned.
The gift shop is fairly small, but fully stocked with a honey tasting bar (they have 8 different yummy varieties!), beauty products, books and lots of other goodies. They used to not do tours of the farm, mainly because of liability, but this year was their very first Honey Festival, complete with a train ride to the farm and a tour. We totally missed it (BOO!), but we have already marked it down for next June (already a fabulous month for delicious local products with our Jam Berry Day...remember, I promised pictures next time?!)...can't wait!
If you couldn't tell, we LOVE everything about this place!!! I'm pretty sure we'll be buying their honey by the gallon from now on, along with their beeswax and other fun stuff (anyone want a chew of honeycomb?!). We'll definitely be back soon!