Hive to Table: Bee Haven Honey

This Findlay Market vendor keeps 2 million bees.
Bee Haven's buzzing workers.
Bee Haven’s buzzing workers.

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

Anyone who’s read The Secret Life of Bees may have thought fleetingly about setting up a backyard hive. Samantha Gordon took the plunge. Ten years later, she and her husband, Scott, have a buzzing business, selling their Bee Haven Honey products—raw, unpasteurized honey; creamed honey; beeswax skincare products; and decorative candles—at a weekend stand at Findlay Market. Bee Haven’s 36 hives are scattered among 17 locations throughout the area, from Gordon’s family farm in New Richmond, where bees help pollinate 800 blueberry bushes, to the black locust tree blooms at Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum. The Gordons also purchase from hobbyist keepers with one or two hives, harvesting this sourced honey and blending it with their own. Gordon checks each hive every two weeks to monitor the health and activity level of the colonies. In early June, when the hives are laden, she collects spring honey. It’s pale blonde and intensely sweet with a delicate floral flavor. Come August, she’ll gather a smaller batch of wildflower honey, known for its deep amber color. “The beautiful thing about honey is that it’s going to be different every year and from season to season,” Gordon says. “It’s like wine: You absolutely taste the environment.” And just like wine-making, it takes patience. “I’ve learned so much from the bees,” she adds. “When you go into the hives, you have to be very centered and calm. They really do pick up on your energy.”

Bee Haven Honey at Findlay Market, 1801 Race Street., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 542-5621, beehavenhoney.com

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