Visit the Big Island Bees Farm
Raw Honey is a gift from nature that has been revered for centuries across many cultures and religions. Epitomized as the nectar of the Gods and a source of divine nourishment: legend tells that Zeus fed on honey in Crete as an infant, Odin’s strength and wisdom has been attributed to the power of honey and the Mayans even had a beekeeping God, named Ah-Muzen-Cab. Many religions view the honeybee as a symbol of purity and Hippocrates favored honey as an antibacterial medicine.
If you think all this sounds impressive and want to see what the buzz is all about, you can enter the world of bees and beekeeping at the largest, organic honey producer in the United States, Big Island Bees. A multi-generational, family run business, their apiaries started in Hawaii the 1970’s and have grown to over 2,500 hives with around 125 million bees.
A visit to their museum offers historical photos and texts describing how honey was extracted from hives on cliffs long ago and tracking the progression to the modern day version of beekeeping practiced today. Bees have an ancient reputation as the bringers of order, and their hives served as models for temple design in many Mediterranean cultures.
Celebrating the bee’s artistic majesty, a dedicated space in the museum includes “apisculptures” of honeycomb made as a collaboration between the bees and beekeeper. These amazing sculptures have been exhibited at the Guggenheim and Hirshhorn Museums.
Visitors can also take a beekeeping tour (reservation recommended) to learn about the craft, its history, and have a front row seat in a screened in observation area to view the queen laying eggs and watch the bees capping honey in an interior demonstration hive.
To produce just one pound of raw, organic Hawaiian honey, the bees fly across 48,000 miles of the Big Island’s pristine and rare geography relishing its floral harvest – the result, remarkably pure and intense honey flavors unique to Hawaii.
Each of their three honey varieties has a different texture, color and taste imparted by the type of nectar the bees harvested; Lehua, Wilelaiki, or Macadamia Nut Blossom. Don’t forget about their tasting room where you can enjoy samples of these unique and rare honey masterpieces.
Finally, you will enjoy their gift shop with bee-created products. Body Care Products such as Lehua Honey Bar Soaps, Cuticle and Hand Salve and Healing Bee Balm. Or find honeycomb candles, culinary confections and, of course, jars of Hawaiian Chili Pepper Honey, the Hawaiian Honey Sampler and Organic Hawaii Cinnamon. Of special mention is their Ohi’a Lehua honey which is one of the world’s rarest honeys, found only in Hawaii, and produced in late spring and early summer from Lehua blossoms in the Ohi’a forests of Mauna Loa.
Beekeeping Tour Schedule
Mon-Fri 10am, 12pm and 2pm. Saturday 10am and 12pm.
Beekeeping Tours are open to people of all ages and are stroller and wheelchair accessible. Both the indoor and outdoor portion of the tour is under cover. Minimal walking is required.
$10 Adults 19 and over, $8 with Hawaii ID
$8 Youth 9-18
Children under 9 are free
82-1140 Meli Road #102
Captain Cook, HI 96704