Now hailing a brand new location with a retail shop within its quaint yellow cottage, and a butterfly/hummingbird-filled garden in the backyard, curious bumblers can take free or private tours of Sarasota Honey Co.’s pollinator-friendly nursery for the real hive-five experience. “Visitors get up close and personal with the busy bees in action, while discussing beekeeping and harvesting in Florida along with the benefits of apiaries and their effect on agriculture,” says co-owner Alma Johnson. You’ll see firsthand how Sarasota Honey ensures the humming drones thrive on the hive healthily and happily so they can engineer that coveted 100% local, natural artisan honey made through an organic practice and holistic process known as “cold-blade”—making its honey arguably vegan—with little-to-no harm to the bees, as opposed to typical commercial harvesting operations that manufacture with machines and a chemical called Bee-Go—burning off the top layer of the honey and killing most of the bees. “It’s not warm and fuzzy. But what it takes all day for us to do; they can in only an hour,” explains Johnson. “It’s better time management on their part, but the bees and taste are compromised from scorching and pasteurizing the top-layer of honey.”

PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

The Manasota Blend combinines honeys from hives all over Sarasota and Manatee Counties for one bombastic explosion of nectar. “While purchasing honey raw over pasteurized is great, hyper-local raw is even better,” explains Johnson of harvesting pollen specific to the area as a cure-all for seasonal allergies and illnesses. “We made this because customers who live in Sarasota, work in Bradenton and go play in Myakka needed an allergy blend,” she says. “Customers love it and swear by it.” Sarasota Honey is also proud to offer the purchase of hive kits to start your own apiary farm.  If you were really born to bee wild, peruse the bounty of handcrafted goods brimming a shelved wall, appearing as a magnified honeycomb. Sarasota Honey goes above and beeyond, creating a whole range of products celebrating the sassy insect. From tea towels, potholders, oven mitts and aprons, decorate your kitchen with charming “Bee Happy” prints. Find locally made jewelry, beard salves, bug repellent, a pet line with paw/nose ointment for your Frenchie and even waterproof, reusable beeswax saran wrap.