By Karen Bliss
York Region is buzzing. There are numerous bee farms, or apiaries, that sell bee products from honey to beeswax candles and soap or some actually offer tours and workshops.
An apiary is simply a location where beehives are kept, and a beekeeper or honey farmer is an apiarist. With that out of the way, if you want to learn more about honey harvesting, the different species of bees, their importance to the ecosystem and why some are endangered, then take a visit to one of these local farms.
Circling Hawk Farm — which states it’s known for pure natural honey, cheesecake, and mead — offers honeybee experience farm tours and beekeeping 101 workshops, both about 80 minutes long. You’ll learn how honey is made and extracted, and, weather permitting, they’ll even open a live hive and point out the queen. Tours typically run from June through late September. Prices range from $25-75.
The farm is also looking for land owners to host bees on their property. But if you are the type to buzz away from bees, then on a Saturday afternoon arrive early to snag a table or simply bring a lawn chair or blanket and take in some live music and art at the area’s first commercial honey winery, where you can enjoy mead flights and charcuterie.
Mike’s Bees, whose website is simply Sutton Honey, will also help aspiring beekeepers, as well as sell honey by the pail or case. In October, he will sell his limited edition “Mike’s High Voltage Hot Sauce.”
As for other product-only bee farms Belicous Products offers wildflower honey, buckwheat, wildflower and clover honey, and something called iced honey in various flavours (regular, cocoa, blueberry, citrus and pumpkin spice), honey vinegar, bee pollen, honeycomb, and honey related artisan spreads, bodycare products, and candles.
Pioneer Brand, which has a dedicated page to health benefits, sells a range of items from raw wildflower honey, pollen and comb to candles, soap, and lip balm. Their flavoured honey comes in apple cinnamon, cocoa, apple cinnamon, jalapeño honey, and pumpkin spice. They also offer flavoured honey drops (mint, echinacea, eucalyptus, lemon and others), deodorant, and more. Apitherapy is the official name given to the vein of alternative medicine that uses bee products like pollen, royal jelly, and even bee venom for their apparent health benefits.
There is also shop on site, or they offer free delivery for King Township residents and list the farmers markets and retailer that sell their products. The farm was started around 1930 by Charles Sauriol, who later received the Order of Canada for his land conservation work.
Humber Honey is also a one-stop shop for honey from Oak Ridges, King City, Holland Marsh, Nobleton, Tottenham, Amaranth, Orangeville and Mono. They work with local farmers and harvest from their properties. “This allows the flavours of each local neighbourhood to shine though. The uniqueness of each location impact the colour, sweetness and taste,” it states.
Who knew York Region was so sweet.
Karen Bliss is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Billboard, Rolling Stone, Pollstar and others. She has interviewed thousands of musicians, including Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Eminem, Shania Twain, Metallica and Michael Bublé.
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