As I stated in a previous article, September is National Honey Month. Honey has many advantages from being a great sugar substitute to obtaining beneficial enzymes when it’s raw and unfiltered.
There are some extra advantages to buying local honey. Like buying any local product, you’re supporting your local economy and reducing your carbon footprint by eating food which traveled 100 miles or less. As the greater Los Angeles area is filled with farmers markets throughout the week and throughout the county, there are so many great options for local honey. By purchasing honey at a farmers market, you have the opportunity to meet the beekeepers and ask them what practices they use in producing honey. It’s also believed that consuming local honey can help with pollen and other seasonal allergies.
In alphabetical order, here are the 6 best local honeys at Los Angeles farmers markets:
Almost 300 beehives from various beekeepers make up what is Aunt Willie’s Apiary. The goal for all of the beekeepers is to save the bees. The mission to keep the bees happy and healthy takes priority over making money from the honey. The beekeepers don’t have to pay Aunt Wilie’s to be part of the Apiary nor does Aunt Willie’s pay them. All of the beekeepers are about having the best times while helping the bees. The honeys which are sold include all types, such as buckwheat, orange blossom and wildflower.
Farmers Markets: Atwater Village
Blue Ridge Honey originates as a family hobby back in the late 1970s. At the time, Venture College offered a wide selection of classes on agriculture and farming, including beekeeping. After a few classes, the founder took up beekeeping. Quickly expanding their colony, their ranch home transitioned into a hive. In the 1980s, David Mitchell became the lead beekeeper and turned it from hobby to business. David and his sons expanded Blue Ridge Honey by reaching out to local growers and helping them increase their yields of honey bee pollination. Today, Blue Ridge has around 1,600 colonies, pollinating floral areas in the Ojai Valley, Ventura County, and surrounding locations. Blue Ridge’s flavors are orange blossom, avocado blossom, sage, wildflower, buckwheat, and raspberry blossom.
Gilbert Erb founded Energy Bee Farm in 1968. Energy Bee is currently run by his son Bill and family, making it three generations of raising bees. Their wildflower fields and orchards run throughout Central and Southern California while their facility in Inglewood is where all of the extraction and packaging is done. They have between 3,000 – 6,000 active beehives in areas such as Porterville, Lindsay, Ivanhoe, Visalia, and the Santa Monica Mountains. Having numerous locations amounts to diverse varieties specific to the place of origin.
The honey for Klausesbees LLC is ripened, meaning they don’t remove the honey until the bee herself has sealed the cell of the honeycomb where the honey is placed. The bee is the only one who knows when the moisture content is right, so she waits until the capping has reached a minimum of 75% closure to remove the honey. When the honey gets extracted, Klausesbees makes sure it doesn’t get any hotter that 110° F as the honey would lose some of its essential nutrients if it gets any hotter. As this stage, the wax cap seal is able to be cut off and the comb can be softened enough to allow the honey to be extracted by a centrifuge. As Klausesbees only has to skim the top of the honey to remove debris, they’re able to keep everything which is beneficial in it.
LSG Honey is a father/daughter duo from the San Fernando Valley. The father, Robin Ghermezi, spent 30 year working in the high tech industry. In 2012, while taking some time off from his job, he helped a friend who had been a beekeeper since the mid-60s. Soon Robin was selling the honey with his friend at local farmers markets. Robin become fascinated with everything bees and took some classes on beekeeping. He founded LSG Honey by naming his business after his daughter’s initials. His daughter Lio remembers being surrounded by nature as a child. Both of her grandparents saw the importance of the planet. Robin remembers going to neighborhood gardens with her grandfather on Sundays. Working LSG Honey with her father, she can envision the lives her grandparents lived. LSG sells a wide array of different types of honey. Some of the flavors are cactus, propolis, lavender, saffron, clover, orange blossom, avocado, wildflower, buckwheat, and black gold.
Francisco Martinez and his family own and operate Martinez Apiaries. Their honey comes in two categories: honey harvested at their farm in Ventura County and a stronger blend of honey due to more flowers and planted growing in the Palos Verdes area where they’re collected. The bees roam free of the farms, so the pollen they gather comes from the plants growing in the area. These plants include sage, eucalyptus, and wildflowers.
Farmers Markets: Hollywood