Bennett’s Honey Farm
Bees sure know how to pick the sweetest of blossoms to land on. After a swarm of bees landed in their yard, Red and Ann Bennett caught the swarm and started raising bees. At first, it was just a hobby between the two of them, but in time it turned into a business and the hiring of employees, some who are still with the company today.
Gilbert (Chip) Vannoy started working with bees when he was 18 years old. He began to help his neighbor who had a beehive. “I didn’t choose beekeeping, it chose me” Chip states. Since he’s allergic to bees, Chip had to work up the antibodies in his system. In time, he began working with the Bennett’s who saw in him a great businessman and outstanding beekeeper. Chip now runs the business.
Bennett’s Honey Farm is a family farm business that produces, packs, and distributes fine honey in a variety of flavors. They don’t blend any of the flavors, so you get exactly what’s on the jar. Since each floral source is unique, each honey has its own characteristics that comes from the environment in which the bees are placed. In the spring, they bring the bees to the orange orchards in Ventura County. This produces their orange flavored honey, which is an all-around favorite. When the orange trees finish blooming, they’ll move them to the sage and buckwheat plants through June. Sage honey is light and mild and a beekeeper’s favorite. The buckwheat has an earthly smell and produces a molasses-like flavor that is not too sweet. During the summer, when California is dry, they transport the bees in big rig trucks to North Dakota when the clover and alfalfa plants are in bloom. Clover honey is typically the flavor found in most grocery stores because it is mild in flavor and blends well with most food and beverages. Some of the other flavors Bennett’s Honey Farm produces are eucalyptus, avocado, cactus, and blueberry. All are packaged under the Topanga Quality Honey and sold in grocery stores and specialty markets. By special request, they bottle their honey under the labels “Piru Canyon Honey” and “Heaven’s Honey” with the latter being bottled in the shape of an angel. “We don’t sell any honey we don’t like” Red says. Which is why you won’t find any other honey in the stores that taste as rich and lovely, as their honey.
Their high quality honey is completely raw and certified organic. They are also kosher certified and may be used for Passover by Jews. They only gravity strain their honey, which sets Bennett’s Honey Farm apart from the others. It takes a little longer to produce, but is well worth it. It is not overheated, but kept at the temperature of the bees, so it maintains the enzymes and trace pollen from the flowers. That’s why their award winning honey may not be as clear in appearance as those found in the stores because it maintains the color, flavor, and characteristics of the flowers from which it came. This allows them to put the highest quality natural honey on the market. In other words, from the flower to the bee to the hive to the jar, their honey is 100% pure, natural, and delicious.
In 2005, the company installed solar panels on the roof of their processing plant. This helped them save on their power bills during lean economical times. Any additional power received during the day was credited back to the electric company, Edison, which allowed them to use the credit to power their plant at night when needed. This “green” facility now produces 100% of their power and has reduced their carbon footprint drastically, which has helped the environment.
You may sample all of their honey and purchase many of their products at their cute retail store located in Fillmore, CA. In addition to their award winning honey, they also sell honeycomb squares, BBQ sauce, dish towels, candles, soaps, lotions, supplements such as royal jelly and propolis capsules and other honey related items. In June, they have a booth at the Fillmore Fair, where they have won numerous blue ribbons. If you live in the Ventura or Los Angeles area, stop by their booth and sample their wonderful products. Check out their website at www.bennetthoney.com for details as the date approaches. Or peruse and purchase their products, if you don’t live in the area.
How honey is made
As the worker bees gather nectar from the flowers they carry it back in their honey sacs where the acid from their stomachs begins to change the nectar into honey. They then deposit the liquid into the cells of a honeycomb. At this point, the honey is high in moisture about 60% when it enters the hive, so the receiving or house-keeping bees fan their wings which evaporates the moisture and thickens the mixture. It is then spun to extract the honey from the comb.
It’s incredible to note, that each bee may only gather one teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime.
Chip’s Bees and is always looking for locations to house their beehives. If interested, you can contact Chip by calling Bennett’s Honey Farm at 805-521-1375 to obtain the specific details necessary.
© By Sheri Lamas