Get the latest buzz on the sweet amber stuff from beekeepers and honey retailers in six Western states.
Ever had a pleasant road trip go sour? You can sweeten it right up with a visit to a beekeeper or honey retailer. And you just might get the latest buzz on those nectar-loving insects that produce the amber stuff we love to slather on toast in the morning.
Lavender Bee Farm Petaluma, Calif. At JoAnn and Rick Wallenstein’s family farm, buy honey produced by bees that feast on the nectar of 5,000 aromatic lavender plants. Visit the farm’s century-old converted water tower for lavender soaps, sachets, candles, and more. Open by appointment. (707) 789-0554, lavenderbeefarm.com .
Big Island Bees Captain Cook, Hawaii. Sample a creamy honey made from the blossom of a tree that grows on the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano andvisit a bee museum with antique tools, vintage hives, an observation hive, and a beekeeper’s suit that visitors can try on. (808) 328-1315, bigislandbees.com .
Cox Honey Farms Shelley, Idaho. The Cox family has been selling clover honey in a little log house on State Street since the 1920s. Ever tried comb honey? Some people chew the beeswax briefly, as if it were gum, but it’s just as edible as the honey. (208) 357-3226, coxshoney.com .
Big’s Bees Reno. If the weather conditions are right and the bees are mellow, beekeeper and honey retailer Brad Watega will pop the lid on a hive for a talk on bees and the honey-making process. Open by appointment. (775) 400-0200, bigsbees.com .
Oregon Bee Store Eagle Point, Ore. Inside the big red barn, find honey from the Rogue Valley’s wild blackberry blossoms. Don’t miss candle maker Angelika Curtis’s 200 styles of hand-poured bees-wax creations. (541) 826-7621, oregonbeestore.com .
Cox Honeyland of Utah Logan, Utah. At this Beehive State honey retailer, enjoy tastes of the popular creamed honey, honey butter, and fresh fudge, or buy a beeswax massage bar. (435) 752-3234, coxhoney.com .
Photography courtesy of Agricultural Research Service
This article was first published in November 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.