Vendors from the State Fair honey booth are coming this fall to a storefront at 4956 Xerxes Ave. S.
Kelley and Deborah Flanders volunteer at the fair on behalf of Honey Hill Farms, Deborah’s family farm.
“I thought, why doesn’t someone do this all year round?” Kelley said. “A lot of local producers are people you only see here at the Fair. There is a lot of quality honey out there that people don’t realize is available.”
Kelley said the store is comparable to the nearby shop Vinaigrette. They’ll have a sampling bar and the option to personally bottle a honey jar.
The store’s raw honey has a pure taste that’s hard to find in larger companies that pasteurize honey for a longer shelf life, Kelley said. Local varieties include clover, basswood, wildflower, buckwheat, alfalfa, sunflower and berry blossom. Spreadable spun honey is whipped and chilled.
The store arrives at a time when bee health has become a hot topic. Colony collapse disorder is very real for Minnesota beekeepers, Kelley said.
“One week, everything looks fine. The next week, it’s a graveyard,” he said, explaining that sick bees don’t return to the hive.
Pesticides introduced in recent years have damaged bees’ nervous systems and immune systems, he said. In addition, genetically-modified crops and more pervasive cornfields turn pastures into deserts, from a bee’s point of view.
“You can’t just point a finger,” Kelley said. “There are a lot of factors.”
In the future, the shop will add cooking classes and beekeeping classes. It may also plan fundraisers for the University of Minnesota’s bee center.
“The bee industry is a lot like the dairy industry was 50 years ago,” Kelley said. “Everybody knows everybody.”
The shop opening is slated for October.