The Buzz on Bees

dining_pacificcrestA redwood-lined country road off of Freedom Boulevard climbs to the top of a hill where Dana and Ed Mumm, Sr. sell the goods of their hard-working bees. From hand-gathered and strained raw honey, to sweet-smelling handmade candles, the Mumms’ mission is one of love.

I met with Dana at their sunny gift store. Wildflower honey is gathered locally in the spring, its taste varying each year depending on what’s in bloom. It’s a dark honey in which I tasted a bit of caramel, and immediately craved a warm batch of cornbread.

Lighter in color and more viscous is the earthy sweetness of sage honey, made when the hives are brought to the Carmel area.

Currently the bees are at a third location feasting on star thistle pollen, which Ed Mumm is thankful for. Local carnivorous yellowjackets are out in force this year, and can decimate a hive within hours.

Some of the Mumms’ products can be found at Corallitos Market and Whole Foods, including bulk tanks at the latter. dining_honeyYou’ll find the largest selection of product at their gift shop. Honey, sold by weight, comes in sizes such as 9-ounces and five pounds. I bought a couple of 12-ouncers ($5), bottled in cute little plastic bears.

Exquisite are the Mumms’ beeswax candles. The bees’ wax is handled carefully to create the most beautiful shade of Dijon mustard. Her candles are as smooth as marble, and made in numerous fanciful shapes from tapers to intricately shaped roses.

The shop also sells other products including herbal teas from Tea Forté. A 35-serving tin of loose-leaf Raspberry Nectar ($12.99) produced a soothing red beverage with citrus and berry aromas.

The Mumms also maintain an incredibly interesting website which describes their honey production as well as the intricacies of beekeeping. | KP

Pacific Crest Apiaries, 875 Calabasas Rd., Watsonville, 688-0508. Through Oct. 31st, open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. From Nov. 1st through Dec. 24, Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Visit pacificcrestapiaries.com

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