Local Honey from Hapa Honey Farm in Fullerton

Hapa Honey Farm won blue ribbons at this year’s OC Fair.
Photograph by Michelle Pagaran

Founded by a family of beekeepers, HAPA HONEY FARM offers raw, unfiltered honey in nectar varieties such as orange blossom and sage blossom. A healthier alternative to sugar, honey is rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce blood pressure and inflammation. Other products include creamed honey, honeycomb, and bee pollen. $15 and up per jar at hapahoneyfarm.com

5 Questions With Co-Owner Laurie Gibson

How did Hapa Honey Farm get its start?
We’re a family of beekeepers who have hives in and around Orange County and Los Angeles. My husband, Bill, started beekeeping when he was 10 years old, helping his neighbor tend to his rooftop hives in Tustin.  He likes to say that he was the only kid in the neighborhood who wasn’t afraid of the bees, and so his neighbor taught him all about them. He has loved bees ever since.

After a long break from beekeeping, he was gifted a hive and we’ve dived into the bees full bore from that day on. That one hive almost instantly became 6, then 20, to now around 100 hives in areas with various rich, diverse forage. We have wonderful bee-conscious property owners who want to help save the bees and get some help with pollinating their various trees and crops.

Like father like son, Gavin was almost 8 years old when he started helping with the bees. Even with multiple stings the first day of beekeeping, he wasn’t scared or deterred and really enjoyed working in the hives. Grady is only 5, but says when he’s older, he wants to help his big brother, too.

When did you start selling honey?
We really started keeping bees for the love of the bees. We initially gave honey away to family, friends, and neighbors. Then, we had so much and sold honey in bulk to other beekeepers and various food operations. Gavin is actually the one who started selling jarred honey to his classmates and their parents and asked if we could start our own brand.

What is your philosophy when it comes to beekeeping?
Our first priority is always the health of our bees, so we use sustainable and ethical beekeeping practices by leaving enough honey and pollen for the bees and making sure our colonies are healthy. Luckily being in beautiful and temperate Orange County and its surrounding areas, our bees have almost year-round sprinklered forage.

What are the health benefits of honey?
Raw honey is full of beneficial vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and amino acids. It’s a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial that is loaded with antioxidants that’s been linked to numerous health benefits, such as fighting indigestion, cough suppression, and decreasing pollen-related allergies. We truly believe in the health benefits of raw, unheated, unfiltered honey, so that’s exactly how we extract our honey. No heat, just strained. We still hand harvest, remove wax cappings by hand, and bottle and label by hand.

What other products do you offer?
We will have different nectar varieties of raw honey (wildflower, orange blossom, sage blossom, buckwheat blossom, etc.) and our exciting raw creamed honey varieties, which we cream in-house with only raw honey and the best quality ingredients and fruits.  We will also have honeycomb and bee pollen.

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