Summer gets extra sweet on July 30 as the Honeybee Festival returns for its fourth year to the Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market in Riverhead. Here, honeybees are celebrated in multiple ways, including by allowing visitors to taste fresh honey straight from the hive.
“The main focus is on educating people about beekeeping while enjoying some family fun,” says farm stall manager Elizabeth Nyawo. “We want people to understand the importance of honeybees to the environment. They are our greatest friends!”
DEMO OF HAYRIDE & SUGAR
Take the 15-minute Honey Hayride that travels through the grounds of the organic farm aboard a wagon that seats up to 30 people, pulled by a tractor ($15 per person).
On arrival at the rear of the property, guests will encounter a series of eight beehives where master beekeeper Steven Chen, of Holbrook, will give a 30 minute presentation on the importance of honeybees.
“Commercially, the most important thing about honeybees is not honey, but rather pollination, which is big business,” said Chen, who holds beekeeping certifications with the Eastern Apicultural Society and Cornell University. “Everything we eat requires pollination and without honeybees we wouldn’t have the choices or the amount of fruits and vegetables we have.”
Chen pulls out a beehive and shows the crowd how it works.
“I’ll pull out a frame with thousands of bees to show the public the hexagonal cells they make,” he says. “Each hive averages 50-100 pounds of honey every two weeks. I even let people taste the honey straight from the hives using popsicle sticks.”
According to Chen, people’s fear of bees should not apply to honeybees.
“These are quiet bees that aren’t aggressive,” he says. “Once you know what honeybees are all about and you realize what they do for us, you’ll be fine with them. Bees are not a threat, but are actually very useful to us.”
Guests can also get a closer look at an active beehive through a display case at the farm stand.
Meander through acres of fields with over 100,000 sunflowers that can be picked by hand for $1 per stalk or $10 for a dozen.
“There are some great photo ops for people in our sunflower fields,” says Nyawo. “Then they can take some of that joy home with them.”
To get even more interactive, head to the Fun Fields playground with a bouncy castle, swings, slides, long tunnel tubes, a bouncy castle with giant bouncy balls, and a track where kids can race on tricycles and go-karts. There are even cornhole games and a sandbox to play in. People can also feed and pet farm animals such as sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, bunnies and a pig. Playing everything from bluegrass to pop to golden oldies, Small Town Gig will perform live music in the area.
HONEY PRODUCTS FOR SALE
Part of celebrating honey is tasting it. Guests can order honey smoothies ($7.95), honey-glazed donuts ($2), honey sticks (50 cents), jars of honey ($11.99) and craft honey pilsner beer made especially for the festival at the brewery’s brewery. farm.
The cafe is open for lunch and serves everything from crispy chicken summer melts ($14.95) to granny smith salads ($11.95). Soft pretzels ($7 for two) and eight flavors of craft beer at the Farmhouse Brewery ($7 per 12 oz cup, $13 per 24 oz can) can be enjoyed in the beer garden.
The market will be open selling chocolate covered sunflower seeds ($1.99 per 1 ounce container), sunflower oil ($12.99 – 12 ounces, $18.99 – 25 ounces), pollinator plants (milkweed, black-eyed Susans, bee balm, coreopsis) that attract bees and butterflies that can be purchased for $11.99-$26.99 and Plan Bee Balms – lip balm ($10) or hand and body balm ($20) from Southampton.
4th ANNUAL HONEY BEE FESTIVAL
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 30 (rainy date July 31), Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market, 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead
RECOGNITION $15 (all attractions); $10.95 for Fun Fields play area only, farm animals and sunflower picking; $30 – Honey Fest Package (includes all rides plus a bouquet of sunflowers or two bunches of lavender plus a package of chocolate covered sunflower seeds or four honey sticks of your choice)
INFO 631-722-8777, gardenofevefarm.com