Summer will get extra sweet on July 30 as the Honeybee Festival returns to the Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market in Riverhead for the fourth year. Here, honeybees will be celebrated in multiple ways, including letting visitors taste fresh honey straight from the hive.
“The focus is mainly on educating people on beekeeping while enjoying some family fun,” says farmstand manager Elizabeth Nyawo. “We want people to understand the honeybees’ importance to the environment. They are our greatest friends!”
HAYRIDE & BEEKEEPER DEMO
Take the 15-minute Honey Hayride that travels through the organic farm’s property aboard a wagon, holding up to 30 people, pulled by a tractor ($15 per person).
When arriving at the back of the property, guests will encounter a series of eight bee hives where master beekeeper Steven Chen, of Holbrook, delivers a 30-minute presentation on the importance of honeybees.
“Commercially the biggest thing about honeybees is not honey, but rather pollination, which is a big business,” says 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 quantity of fruits and vegetables that we have.”
Chen will take out a hive and show the crowd the intricacies of how it works.
“I will pull out a frame with thousands of bees to show the audience the hexagon cells they make,” he says. “An average of 50 to 100 pounds of honey comes from each hive every two weeks. I’ll even let people taste the honey directly from the hives using Popsicle sticks.”
People’s fear of bees shouldn’t apply to honeybees, according to Chen.
“These are calm bees that are not aggressive," he says. “Once you know what honeybees are all about and you realize what they do for us, you’ll be OK with them. Bees are not a threat but rather very beneficial to us.”
Guests can also see an active beehive up-close through a glass case display by the farmstand.
Wander through acres of fields holding more than 100,000 sunflowers which can be hand-picked for $1 per stem 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 back home.”
To get even more interactive, enter into the Fun Fields play area where there’s a jump pad, swings, slides, long tunnel tubes, a bouncy town with giant hop balls and a track where kids can race tricycles and pedal 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. Small Town Gig, which plays everything from bluegrass to pop to golden oldies, 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 doughnuts ($2), honey sticks (50 cents), jars of honey ($11.99) and honey lager craft beer made at the farm’s brewery specifically for the festival.
The cafe will be open for lunch serving 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 farm brewery ($7 per 12 oz. cup, $13 per 24 oz. cans) 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 which 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 HONEYBEE FESTIVAL
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 30 (rain date July 31), Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market, 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead
ADMISSION $15 (all attractions); $10.95 for the Fun Fields play area, farm animals and sunflower picking only; $30 — Honey Fest Package (includes all attractions plus a bouquet of sunflowers or two bunches lavender plus a package of chocolate-covered sunflower seeds or four honey sticks of your choice)
INFO 631-722-8777, gardenofevefarm.com