Pour Some Sugar on Me!: Honey Farms in Israel
Apiaries throughout the country offer the public an opportunity to explore the magical lives of honey bees, sample honey and experience its making
Beekeeping has been an organized industry in Israel since 1882 (131 years!), and there are signs that the ancient practice existed in the area thousands of years ago. Today, there are more than 500 apiarists and 100,000 apiaries spread throughout the country – 60,000 of these are placed in agriculture areas and used for pollination. The honey bee is one of the major pollinators of agricultural plants, responsible for 80 percent of worldwide pollination. Its role in nature makes many types of fruits and vegetables possible, and what it produces is used in pharmaceuticals, textiles and cosmetics.
Honey comes in a wide variety of fragrances and flavors, depending on the location of the bee hive and the greenery around it. Rosh Hashannah is an especially great opportunity to experience high-quality local Israeli honey, (though its available year-round). Visitors get to taste different types of honey and learn about the crucial role bees play in the environment.
From the north to the south, visitors can watch beekeepers and the bees at work and at play; tour the facilities; catch films on bees and their way of life; make candles from beeswax; take part in bee and honey related workshops; and hear lectures about different products, including royal jelly and propolis – a resinous substance that bees collect from plants and use to repair holes in hives.
Be sure to visit these local beekeepers and get your fill!
Galil Apiary at Kibbutz Shamir
Films on honey, and witnessing the production of the syrupy goodness first-hand, including beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, been venom and more.
Sun-Thu 8:00-16:00; Fri 8:00-14:00; Sat 9:00-16:00, 04-6947826
Pirhei Galil Beehive in Moshav Manot, Western Galilee
This established apiary has been around since 1984, and this year a new event, 'The Time Tunnel" displays a unique way to teach children about bees and honey through Bible stories. They can also enjoy a craft corner with wax sculptures and costumes. A tour includes an explanation on medicinal herbs, honey tastings and more.
Sun-Thu 15:00-19:00; Fri 10:00-16:30; closed on Sat
Kaveret Habustan in Peki’in
Located in a Druze village and founded in 1977, this apiary combines rural Druze nature and diverse educational activities. Beeswax candle-making workshops, camel rides, basket weaving and more are all part of the festivities.
Open all week from 9:00-18:00 052-2477897/057-8132059
Dvorat Hatavor in the Lower Galilee
Her allergy to bees never stopped Malka Ben-Zeev, a fifth-generation beekeeper who has been working at the hives since she was a child. Malka, husband Yigal, their three children and seven grandchildren will celebrate 20 years of honey-making and a new cookbook on cooking with honey at their Dvorat HaTavor honey farm.
Daily 9:00-17:00 04-6769598/0505637645. See: dvorat-hatavor.co.il
Ofir Apiary in Alon Hagalil
Tzvika Ofir from Alon HaGalil is a second generation apiarist. He started with a gift he received from his parents in 1985 and today owns 700 hives which are scattered from Hadera to Israel's northern border. At his apiary, he offers a tour including a film on the world of bees, growth and treatment. Beeswax candle-making and winery tours are also available.
052-2824644. See: yfw.co.il
Ye’arat Hadvash in Alonei Abba
Experiment on the honey farm with real honeycomb and various tastings.
Sun-Thu 8:00-17:00; Fri 8:00-14:00 054-4437402/077-9136549
Emek Hefer Apiary, Haifa
A new visitor's center provide informational resources on honey and bees, how honey is collected and stored in the hives, and how it is produced and becomes an energy source.
Call for hours during the month and appointments
Lin Farm in Kfar Bilu
This 30-year-old family farm offers a tour of "becoming" a beekeeper for the day, discovering how to collect nectar from flowers, dressed in bee-keeping clothing and understanding a day-in-the-life of a beekeeper. Visitors will also leaner about communication between bees, the queen, field work and other roles in the hive.
Sun-Fri 10:00-12:00, 054-2207965
Kibbutz Yad Mordechai
Yad Mordechai hosts families and children to celebrate the Honey festival through specialized workshops, baking honey and carrot cake, tractor rides and more.
Sat and holidays 10:00 – 15:00 and during the week by appointment
08-6720559/052-3923104, See: ym-tayarut.co.il
Porat Apiray in Ein Yahav
This moshav near the border with Jordan also includes a special collaboration with local artists. A sculpture gallery including the works of Chacha Porat and the photography of Gilad Livni are on display in addition to apples and honey tastings.
Hours: by appointment. 052-3666032/0523666755 See: 45c.co.il