Visiting the Kingsburg Honey Beehives in Kingsburg, California

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My regular readers know that I’m kind of obsessed with raw honey. OBSESSED! Honeycomb, pollen, propolis, beeswax, all of it.. I’m on it like.. uh, well, I guess like bees on a honeycomb. (That sounded cooler in my head.)
In my ever evolving knowledge of bees and the art and science of apiculture, I have come to expect three things from my honey: 1) That it is produced naturally and ethically; 2) That it is raw and unfiltered; and 3) That it is local and preferably from a family that I would feel confident supporting and promoting.
SO! Meet the Hess Family, owners and operators of Kingsburg Honey in Kingsburg, California! I discovered this company  after trolling my criteria for honey on the good ol’ interwebs, and then I reached out to the Hess family asking for a chance to get a closer look at their all natural, organically raised local honey.
Daren Hess and his 11 year old son Dmitry were awesome enough to take Jonathan and myself out to a family owned organic farm where they keep their bees (many of them “rescued” from exterminators after making their home in the side of a barn or chimney, or swarming onto a tree in a residential neighborhood). When not on the organic farm, the bees forage among wildflowers along the Kings River.
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I mentioned earlier this year that I am fascinated with bees (mostly because I’ve never been stung by one) and I have been flirting with the concept of beekeeping on my little urban homestead in the city. For all of my love of this age old art, I have never, EVER, been close to bees making honey before. It’s actually been high up on my bucket list to handle bees in a beehive – right up there with “pet a penguin” and “find a dinosaur bone”. (I shoot for the stars, I tells ya.)
So visiting these hives was kind of awesome for me. When Daren asked if we’d like to handle the bees and get up close, it took every ounce of my self control to not squeal like a little girl. Would I like to play with honey bees?! Heck to the yes!!
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Every step of our visit to the beehives was, well, kind of awesome in the face! We hadn’t even cracked open a hive yet and I was already going giddy with excitement when Daren and Dmitry started lighting the beehive smoker. Oh! And I always thought the smoker was to get the bees all disoriented or something. (Which makes no sense. If I were disoriented and someone was taking my honey I would be stinging the crap out of them.) So I learned that the smoke is to distract the bees – they think there’s a fire and then start collecting the honey. The more you know.

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Dmitry was awesome and handled the bees like a boss. His dad Daren is hoping he’ll consider carrying on the family tradition of beekeeping and if he does, he’ll be the fifth generation in his family to tackle this cool hobby and valued art. While I was stuttering over how to correctly pronounce “propolis”, Dmitry was pointing out queen bees, drone bees and casually dropping abstract bee knowledge all over the place.

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The Hess Family is quite serious about raising bees in a natural and ethical manner, which is beyond important here in the Central Valley of California, where orchard, crops and farms are all dependent on healthy bee populations. Daren and Dmitry recently returned from an Organic Beekeepers conference in Arizona, where they studied methods of natural, organic beekeeping – keeping current on their craft is important to this family, which is extremely impressive to me.
So guess what!? Jonathan and I got to handle bees!!! How cool is THAT?! And you know my flirting with the concept of beekeeping? After playing with these beauties, now Jonathan is on board with my lofty urban beekeeping plans. (Mwahahaha, I WIN!)

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So Jonathan and I had an absolute blast with this fun hands on experience with bees, and now we are SERIOUSLY considering raising our own bees for local homegrown honey.. but in the meantime, we’re more than excited to purchase the organically raised, all natural Kingsburg Honey from the Hess family!
A BIG thank you to Daren and Dmitry for such a fun and educational outing to your organic bee hives!

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Intesrested in buying some organically raised Kingsburg Honey? For my non-California readers, you can CLICK HERE to purchase Kingsburg Honey from their online store. For my local Central Valley readers, Kingsburg Honey can be purchased in person at the following locations:
Kingsburg at the Svensk Butik gift shop – 1465 Draper St
Fresno at Hye Market – Bullard & West
Kerman at Schaad Family Almonds
Kingsburg at KMK Farm Store – Mtn. View & Mendocino
Reedley at Lukes Almond Acres – Rose & Lac Jac
Reedley at To Better Health – 11th Street
Bravo Farms in Traver
Tulare at Bravo Farms Smokehouse
Visalia at Pacific Treasures & Gourmet – Main St
Visalia at Bravo Farms Smokehouse – Willis St.

Enter for a Chance to Win Kingsburg Honey!

The Hess family has been awesome enough to offer a one pound squeeze jar of raw, unfiltered wildflower honey to one lucky Domestic Geek Girl reader! Enter below for your chance to win!
– Entry is open to United States residents that are over the age of 18 years.
– You can enter to win once per day.
– The entry period is from April 20th, 2015 to May 4th, 2015.
– Winner will be notified via email and must respond within 48 hours or the prize will be forfeited and a new winner selected.
– Kingsburg Honey will forward the prize winning goods to the lucky person.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget, you can enter to win once per day! Good luck!! ^_^

Gingi Freeman on FacebookGingi Freeman on InstagramGingi Freeman on PinterestGingi Freeman on Twitter
Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

74 thoughts on “Visiting the Kingsburg Honey Beehives in Kingsburg, California

  • 21 April, 2015 at 9:01 am
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    Oh my goodness Gingi… I don’t like being around one bee… I am not sure I could handle all of those bees… I am in awe of them and how miraculous they are… they are an amazing creature to say the least. From making amazing honey to being able to fly when science even thinks they shouldn’t…. I have done projects on them… still not sure I could handle them xox

    • 21 April, 2015 at 2:28 pm
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      Yes, THIS!! The bee is one of those tiny creatures that just screams of the majesty and complexity of our God! I love the mystery surrounding bees – from their flight to the components of pollen that confound scientists trying to replicate it’s properties in a lab. These little guys are just amazing.. even if honey weren’t a tasty by-product of owning bees, I’d be interested in owning some for a season just to observe and study these guys!

      • 22 April, 2015 at 1:22 pm
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        Lol! Your referring to them as “guys” tickled me a bit. At the risk of correcting admin, I’d just like to say, “These *girls* are amazing…” because alllll of the hard work in the bee world is really done by the ladies. Buzzbuzzbuzz. The drones (males) are stingerless, and pretty much exist to mate with the queen… and then the fat, fuzzy little guys perish. The rest of the work: the hive, the millions of miles of flights, the comb, the baby-rearing, the hive defense, the honey production and storage– it’s all the ladies. 😀 Props to them! (Or should I say Propolis to them! heehee)

        • 22 April, 2015 at 3:29 pm
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          LOL, your comment wins at everything forever! So does your e-mail! And propolis to them? I have a comment crush on you, hehe! I’m off to buy a book on honeybees and beekeeping now.. I clearly have a ton to learn!!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 9:44 am
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    Ooh, I’d love to get this local honey next time I buy some.

    • 21 April, 2015 at 2:29 pm
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      Yay, thank you!!! This just totally made my day!! *hugs*!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 2:31 pm
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    This is such a fascinating hobby/craft/business. Honeybees are in danger in many areas, so I’m glad to see this successful operation! The only bees I get around her are bumblebees (which are adorable) and yellow jackets (which I hate!)

    • 21 April, 2015 at 4:24 pm
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      Yeah, I was reading up on hives collapsing.. scary times!!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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    This is a super cool post! As you probably know, vegans don’t eat honey, and I get it if that means honey that comes from unethical bee keepers. However, this family obviously cares about the bees and the bees are fortunate to have such an amazing environment to live and make honey. I wouldn’t have a problem eating this honey.

    Love the photos, you really have a gift.

    • 21 April, 2015 at 4:26 pm
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      Awww, thank you Linda! I had so much fun taking pictures I forgot to worry about getting stung!! haha!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 3:00 pm
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    Sounds like an exciting adventure, I have always wanted to pay with the honey bees too!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 3:11 pm
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    Look at you holding up that board of bees! What an interesting lesson for both kids and adults. I LOVE the honey I buy at our farmers market, and the options. Who knew honey could taste different depending on the plant they gather nectar from? Right now I’m all about the blackberry honey, especially in my tea. Yum!

    • 21 April, 2015 at 4:27 pm
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      I know, I’m holding those bees like a BOSS, right?! hehe.. I am partial to wildflower honey.. mm mm mmm!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 3:13 pm
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    Lol I usually eat this stuff by the spoonful!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 3:18 pm
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    Gingi, this looks like such an awesome bee experience! Wish I could have joined you. I’m with you, I totally agree with how you get your honey. And the kind of honey you recommend helps with allergies to, or so I’ve read! Great post friend =)

    • 21 April, 2015 at 4:28 pm
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      You need to live closer Laura!! Ohhh, the blogging shenanigans we could get into!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 3:41 pm
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    I love it in my tea every morning. Mmmhmmmm

  • 21 April, 2015 at 4:31 pm
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    How very cool!! I’m a huge supporter of local honey mostly because of my terrible allergies. It’s always fun to see the actual process, especially knowing that bees are very important to our entire ecosystem!

    • 21 April, 2015 at 10:35 pm
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      I take honey for my allergies too! Local is the best for allergies, which is why I’m sooo happy to find such an organically minded beekeeper close to home! <3

  • 21 April, 2015 at 4:48 pm
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    Yum honey!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 5:08 pm
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    i think you would make an excellent beekeeper! this looks like such a fun outing with the little ones. i think lucas would get a kick out of seeing the bees and learning about making honey. thanks for sharing sweetie! 🙂
    love, liz
    http://www.stylewich.com

  • 21 April, 2015 at 7:06 pm
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    Yikes-I’m sort of freaking out! I thought you had to wear special gear to be around bees like that!! A guy Chris used to work with had hives and would give us fresh honey every once in awhile – it was awesome!!

    • 21 April, 2015 at 10:36 pm
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      I thought so too, but these bees were crazy chill! And it make me feel pretty dang mighty, haha! 😉

  • 21 April, 2015 at 7:56 pm
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    I love raw honey, but I am a total wimp. I would have to be wearing full gear to be that close,because I have been stung one time to many!Seeing a swarming hive just gets me itchy. We live in the land of Africanized bees and those are no joke! And look at you holding up that board like a champ!It’s amazing that they don’t need suits, they have to be the “primo” of bee handlers!Yummy giveaway 🙂

  • 21 April, 2015 at 8:21 pm
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    What an awesome day, and what wonderful pictures! It must have been so cool to see how the process happens. I would have been terrified of the bees though – you are much braver than I am!

    xo,
    Jessica
    http://www.fortheloveofbubbly.com

  • 21 April, 2015 at 9:29 pm
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    How funny, my family also found Daren online and asked about a tour of the bees. That was early fall 2014, and now we are backyard beekeepers. We are lucky enough to have Daren guiding us along. He helped us catch our first swarm and since then we’ve caught two more. It all began that day at Kingsburg Honey. We were amazed with the keeping of bees and think they are completely fascinating and important.

    • 21 April, 2015 at 10:37 pm
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      Small world! (Or small Central Valley..? haha!) My husband and I are going to pick Darens brain over starting out with a hive.. we are totally sold on beekeeping now!

  • 21 April, 2015 at 9:34 pm
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    You guys are brave. I’m scared of bees, but I love honey. Lol!! Sure sounds and looks like a good trip. Lovely photos! :))

    missymayification.blogspot.co.uk

    • 22 April, 2015 at 1:36 am
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      Haha, I don’t know about brave, but it was pretty darn fun! 😉

  • 21 April, 2015 at 11:49 pm
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    Mmmm, I love honey! Their honey looks amazing. What a great adventure you had, I admire how you pursue your goals!

    • 22 April, 2015 at 3:18 am
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      Haha.. thats usually my problem.. I pursue too many goals at once! 😉

  • 22 April, 2015 at 12:28 am
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    Wow! This is so neat! I love to add raw honey in my tea. I also like to eat it on my toast.

  • 22 April, 2015 at 10:53 am
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    Gingi – In high school, I participated in beekeeping and maple syrup production. It was such a rewarding activity. The beekeeping suits weren’t my favorite style of clothing, but the reward for local honey was definitely worth it.

    • 22 April, 2015 at 3:26 pm
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      Man, you must have gone to a cool high school! Part of the reason why I want to homeschool my kids is so they can do things like this – the high schools here in Cali DO NOT offer cool outings and projects like this!

  • 22 April, 2015 at 12:27 pm
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    I am terrified of bees because of the fact that I’ve never been stung by them. haha But I LOVE honey! There is a family literally down the road from me who sell honey. I love knowing where it comes from and that I’m supporting a local family.

    • 22 April, 2015 at 3:26 pm
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      Yeah, I always tell people here in the Central Valley, that being in an agricultural community, we have no reason NOT TO know where our food comes from!

  • 22 April, 2015 at 1:44 pm
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    So fun! My in laws have beehives and I love visiting and checking out the hive!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  • 22 April, 2015 at 3:02 pm
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    You have outdone yourself! Excellent post! Love the pics, the writing, everything. I am a big fan of raw honey, too, and when in Greece last summer stuffed as many jars as we could in our suitcase. It is amazing stuff and tastes nothing the overly sweet stuff (laden with horrible junk) in those bears! Good luck with new endeavor!

    • 22 April, 2015 at 3:31 pm
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      Oh man, I am soooo jealous of your Greece trip. Take me with you next time!! *shakes fist!* And that must be awesome, to come home with so many local flavors. I am usually hoarding coffee and wines and oils on my travels!

  • 22 April, 2015 at 4:22 pm
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    I love drizzling honey on pancakes!

    • 22 April, 2015 at 7:09 pm
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      <3 <3

  • 22 April, 2015 at 5:43 pm
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    I love bees thy are so magical and hard working creatures (hate wasps though)! Back home we had a lot of fresh honey and some of my friends grandparents had beehives so your photos bring me back to childhood)
    Wonderful post!!!

  • 22 April, 2015 at 8:15 pm
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    I love to swirl it in my homemade ice cream – I would soo love to try this honey!

  • 22 April, 2015 at 8:57 pm
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    Ever since we visited a honey farm, we wanted to have our own bees. One year we did, it was so good. Loved your pictures!

    • 23 April, 2015 at 3:33 am
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      Oh my, I need to pick your brain on this whole beekeeping thing girl!

  • 22 April, 2015 at 9:14 pm
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    That looks so cool! You wouldn’t get me anywhere near all those bees though! Scary!

    Corinne x

    • 23 April, 2015 at 3:33 am
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      You could do it girl, I’ve seen your blog, you are daring. 😉

  • 22 April, 2015 at 11:46 pm
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    I like it in little spoonfuls by itself. 🙂

  • 23 April, 2015 at 1:40 am
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    Favorite way to eat raw honey is on bread.

  • 23 April, 2015 at 1:45 am
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    Oh my gosh. I know bees are great for our earth but I don’t think I could get that close to them! But I do love honey; either as a sweetener in cooking/baking, or just to dip apples in!

    • 23 April, 2015 at 3:34 am
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      Yeah, we try to use honey or maple as a sugar sub whenever possible in our home!

  • 23 April, 2015 at 12:04 pm
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    Oh I’m so happy for you that you got the chance to do this! It seems really exciting! I’m not the biggest bee fan (got stung once, scarred for life), but I can understand that this must be so nice for you! Love the photos you took!

    XO Imke // http://www.pastellics.com

    • 23 April, 2015 at 2:31 pm
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      Lol, it will be a sad day when I eventually get stung. 😉

  • 23 April, 2015 at 1:23 pm
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    I like to add honey to sweeten my smoothies or I use it instead of other sweeteners when baking.

  • 23 April, 2015 at 3:47 pm
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    I love bees too (and i have been stung by one!)
    Great photos from what must have been a fascinating trip

  • 23 April, 2015 at 8:05 pm
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    Bees are just brilliant and an important part of life’s rich cycle.

    Great post with great photo’s … thanks

    All the best Jan

    • 23 April, 2015 at 10:16 pm
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      <3 <3

  • 24 April, 2015 at 12:30 am
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    Wow! I am obsessed with bees and honey myself. I always get scared about them disappearing off the earth completely.. because.. we can’t have that.

  • 24 April, 2015 at 6:12 pm
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    I am so loving these photos. I don’t know if I’d be that calm around bees so that wouldn’t be for me lol. But I am also obsessed with raw honey. I just loved this post.

    Kay of Pure & Complex
    http://www.purecomplex.com

  • 27 April, 2015 at 3:15 am
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    THAT.IS.AMAZING!!! I love honey so much. What a great experience. How do they handle those bees without getting stung or what? 🙂 My father actually used to have a small beehive where he gets honey and sells them. I never got close to the bees because I’m scared they’d swarm over me. Gaahh

  • 28 April, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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    I like to eat it on Greek yogurt.

  • 29 April, 2015 at 12:53 am
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    I’ve never had raw honey before.

Comments are closed.