Buyers will be able to learn more about the honey they purchase and watch the bees in a giant hive.
It has been a bumper crop for honey at Winter Garden Honey Farm, so much so that Bob and Trilby Stevens have had to postpone the grand opening of their expanded self-serve stand. Originally scheduled for early September, the event now will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17.
Bob Stevens has big plans for his stand, which is set up at 9816 Tower Pine Drive, in Winter Garden, and is open 24 hours a day.
The current stand was built as an open-air wooden structure with his honey products lined up on shelves and an honor-system payment format. It was covered, but wind and rain were damaging the paper labels and information sheets.
The new stand will be enclosed and more user-friendly, Stevens said, and it will feature two components. The market side will offer more products and a floral section. The education side will include a large observation hive and learning materials.
“I’m making half of it an education side because I get so many inquiries from parents and schools and Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts,” Stevens said.
In addition to the self-serve stand, Winter Garden Honey Farm products are sold on Saturdays at the Winter Garden Farmers Market. Bottles, Mason jars and gallon jugs of honey are available.
For information, go to wghoney.com.
Stevens began his fascination with keeping bees when he was 8 after seeing a local man with a few hives of his own. This man, Jim Bradshaw, would be Stevens’ beekeeping mentor for 50 years.
Stevens started his first honey company in Windermere in 1975, at age 15. Ten years later, he opened another one in Apopka.
In the 1980s, he worked for several honey companies before opening Bob’s Honey in Apopka in 1985.
In 2010, the Stevenses launched Winter Garden Honey Farm. Their raw honey is 100% pure, and “what you buy is exactly what the bees make,” they said.
The company uses four floral sources for their product — orange blossom, which blooms in March; palmetto, which blooms in April and May; sabal palm, which blooms in June, July and September; and Brazilian “sweet” pepper, which blooms in September and October.
Orange Blossom Honey has a light, citrus aftertaste that varies according to the variety of orange used. It also is much sweeter than other honeys, Stevens said.
Palmetto Honey is a biproduct of the production of saw palmetto berries, he said, and is considered a gourmet honey.
“Saw palmetto honey is one of the honey greats that will change your mind about buying blended honey from the store shelf,” Stevens says on the farm’s website.
Sabal palms produce flowers on multi-branched stalks that attract bees in the summertime and yield a dark-amber honey.
The farm’s Brazilian pepper honey comes from Cocoa and is popular in Florida. It is sweet with a subtle spicy aftertaste.