Photo courtesy Bearer Farms
Owner: Cy Bearer Location: Oilville History: "I started Bearer Farms about five years ago. It had always been a dream of mine to work a farm, work the land," says proprietor Cy Bearer. So he purchased 20 acres of prime agricultural land in Oilville to turn into a tree farm producing ornamental trees for resale. "Since there was a lot of competition in trees, I decided to focus on the Japanese maple." A transition from ornamental trees to bees and honey came after his uncle asked to put a few hives on the farm. Specialty: Wildflower honey Production Methods: "Bees range for about five miles, and they feed on a variety of wildflowers, including sassafras," Bearer says, "but the bees out here favor tulip poplar, which gives our honey its distinctive color and flavor." Where to Get It in RVA: Stores include Whole Foods Market, Tom Leonard's Farmer's Market, Ellwood Thompson's Local Market, Strawberry Street Market, Glen Allen Nursery & Garden Center, Libbie Market and J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese. The Urban Farmhouse Market, Garnett's Café and Kuba Kuba also carry the honey. Future Plans: Bearer Farms continues to expand, and Bearer manages 40 to 50 hives on more than a dozen other farms from Goochland to Richmond. "We also foresee getting into something like a Burt's Bees product line, with a bit more focus on handmade," he says. "My wife is interested in developing that line. Hardywood Brewery is also using our honey to produce their Gingerbread Stout, so look forward to that this fall."