EASTON — Hillside Honey Apiary has a short, but rich history. Originally owned by Ron and Beth Ward, it was a farm off Hillside Road in Leavenworth. Current owners Shelley and Ty Martin, moved the facility to the old Rural Easton High School at 531 Dawson St. in Easton.
Both graduates from Missouri University, the Martins each have a degree in history. The move satisfied their hunger for both honey and history. They completely renovated the building to facilitate their bee farm that offers local, raw, unfiltered honey, infused and creamed honey, and a whole host of personal care products.
"We just love anything that is revitalizing and rebuilding a bit of history for this community," Shelley Martin said.
This quaint farm is not just a hive for honey bees, it is an educational facility, where folks can learn. The Martins offer tours to groups of 10 or larger. During the hour-long experience, visitors hear about bees and their habits, as well the process of harvesting honey and making it into different products. After the discussion, the amateur beekeepers receive a little first-hand experience when they suit up and interact with the hive and beeswax craft.
"The owners are wonderful and extremely knowledgeable and passionate about what they are doing. We learned so much," Michelle Lynn of Gardner said in a review of Hillside. "My 4-year-old thought being able to hold a tray full of bees was the coolest thing ever. ... Both of my girls came home buzzing with new information."
In addition to a safe haven for bees and educational facility for the public, Hillside Honey also sells products in stores across Kansas as well as online at their Etsy Store. From lotion bars to deodorants and of course honey creamed and otherwise, the Martins and their bees are always hard at work.
"We offer a little bit of everything," Shelley Martin said. "It's a one of a kind beekeepers experience."
The motto of Hillside Honey Apiary is from Proverbs 16:24 "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." It's a sentiment they have infused into every part of their lives.
"We realize that really does reflect us on so many levels. We've learned to always be gracious and what a great lesson to be learned," Shelley Martin said. "As we educate, which is what we do first and foremost, we remember to do so graciously. Being stewards of the earth is a big job and that's what we are doing in our small piece of the world and we are so grateful to be doing so."
The apiary is open for the season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hours of operation include Thursdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To book a tour call 913-773-0157 or visit http://www.hillsidehoney.com.
Hillside Honey Apiary products can be purchased online at https://www.etsy.com/shop/HillsideHoneyApiary.