Local Beekeepers and Where to Buy Local Honey Products in Wichita Area
The world without bees could be quite different, a fact people face as the population of the honey-producing insect is on the decline. According to Time.com, population levels of more than 700 North American bee species are declining from habitat loss and pesticide use.
Sustaining agriculture production by pollination, bees help maintain a vast array of foods including fruits, vegetables, and nuts or about one-third of the food people eat. The winged insects travel for miles each day only to return with nectar to their hive and tirelessly work to support it. Bees visit about 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey.
Several Kansas beekeepers are the reason Wichitans are able to purchase naturally produced honey and related products at farmer’s markets and retail stores. Those looking for these products can visit the following businesses or purchase bee related products from them online.
Honey Bee Hut
Valley Center & Kechi
Honey Bee Hut, a division of 4 Acres Farm, maintains over a dozen hives and harvests unpasteurized raw honey typically in the fall. Inspired by the health benefits of honey, Lynanne DeGarmo began creating lotion bars to heal her dry hands. When friends mentioned she should sell the bars, she began selling them and similar products at local vendor booths and inside Kechi’s The Vintage Rhinestone.
“I wanted to make a good, quality product at a reasonable price that people would like,” says DeGarmo, a self-taught beekeeper.
Maintaining beehives is a labor-intensive job often requiring beekeepers to check bee progress daily. The bees, which DeGarmo refers to as “engineers,” have different jobs within the hive based on their role and work constantly to eventually produce honey.
DeGarmo uses this liquid gold and parts of the honeycomb to bottle raw honey and make handcrafted soaps. Each product she sells is a work of art.
“I love to create. The more artistic and the more fun I can have, the better,” says DeGarmo. Each of her fragrant soaps come uniquely wrapped in gift-worthy paper tied with colorful fabric remnants from quilts she has made. Her beeswax lotion bars sit nestled inside small metal tins.
A member of several bee related associations, she sells her products three days a week on Tuesdays at Green Acres Farmer’s Market (21st and Rock Road), Thursdays at Kechi’s Farmer’s Market, and on Saturdays at the Kansas Grown Farmer’s Market (21st and Ridge Road). Honey Bee Hut customers will soon be able to purchase DeGarmo’s bee-friendly products online. She also teaches school children about the necessity and care of bees at area schools and libraries.
Murphy Family Ranch
6400 SW Hunter Rd | Augusta, Kansas
Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
With more than 1 million bees in their hives today, Murphy Family Ranch bought their first hive in 2015 out of an interest to help the bee population and supply their family with local raw honey. The husband and wife team are not in it for the profit. They maintain hives to produce honey because “it tastes great and provides a multitude of positive health benefits.”
In fact, area residents can reap the rewards of the bees’ hard work by paying it forward.
“Wichitans can have a positive, direct impact on their local food supply by avoiding the use of pesticides, planting bee-friendly native plants and flowers, starting their own beehives, and supporting their local beekeeper by buying honey,” says Emmy Murphy.
When the couple is not tending to their hives, they also present at local schools, organizations, and provide free swarm removal.
Beesponsible (Barkman Honey)
7075 W. 37th St. N. Suite A | Wichita, KS
Beesponsible, backed by Barkman Honey a family-owned company based in Hillsboro, work to preserve and protect the honeybee. Since 1928 Barkman Honey has spread the word on beekeeping best practices, raised the standards for honey quality, and lead the charge for ethical sourcing of honey.
Their Kansas Bee Harmony Honey is available for sale at Nectar Republic in Clifton Square as well as the Old Town Farmer’s Market every Saturday. The honey, made from bees foraging mostly clover and alfalfa 60 miles north of the city, is “a rich, golden honey with a delicately complex sweetness,” says Rebecca Ignowski.
Beesponsible’s mission it create meaningful buzz about the benefits of bees amongst area residents.
“Our team hopes to build a massive, widespread community of fellow bee lovers and bee advocates,” says Ignowski. “We want people to understand the wonder of bees and all they do for us, the dangers they face and the many ways to help them.”
She suggests that real impact can start right here in the city.
“Wichita is the heart of our nation in so many ways. If we all start making small changes in our personal lives, the ripple effect – expanding to our families, our business and beyond – we will make real change for bees.”
(316) Honey LLC
2120 Ironstone | Wichita, KS
On her certified organic property just east of Wichita, Julie Bachman began tending to her hives six years with the goal to grow naturally with the bees as they multiplied. She offers traditional liquid honey, comb honey, and spun honey and sells it at The Spice Merchant and Ace Hardware stores in Wichita and Andover.
Originally started as a cattle ranch in 1941, Bachman has local employees work her organic crops grass fed cows. She and her son manage the business.
“The entire operation has provided many jobs over the years to students, single moms, vets, ourselves, and area farmers,” says Bachman.
Like other beekeepers, she values the hard work that the bees do every day as they help to provide the food people eat.
“The world without bees would be starvation.”
An extensive list of Kansas honey producers is also available at the Local Honey Source.