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From bee to mead showcased at The Hive

New experiential honey center opens in Woodland

Building exterior
The Hive grand opening will be held Saturday and
Sunday, Nov. 13-14, in Woodland. (Photos: Debbie

This roadside attraction is sure to get people buzzing.

Featuring the first varietal honey- and mead-tasting room of its kind, The Hive will celebrate its grand opening Nov. 13 and 14 in Woodland.

Located just off Interstate 5 at Harter Avenue, The Hive offers a one-stop honey immersive experience. The new home of Z Specialty Food, The Hive combines honey making, packaging and appreciation all in one site – much like Northern California wineries showcase wine.

“We want to educate people about honey tasting,” explains Joshua Zeldner, Nectar Director at Z Specialty Food. “It’s very similar to wine tasting.”

Z Specialty and its sister brands, Moon Shine Trading Company and Island of the Moon Honey, offer more than 30 varietal honeys plus fruit-honey spreads and other honey-based treats. All of those will be processed and packaged at the new location.

“It’s hard to believe we are finally here, a true dream come true for our family business,” Zeldner says. “I am so excited to invite people to experience what we have created — the full circle of plants, bees, honey and mead.”

In the honey business for more than four decades, Z Specialty Food had been planning The Hive for four years. The project cost about $5 million.

The family business had operated for many years just down the road from its new three-acre location.

“It was a grass field I had driven by so many times,” Zeldner said. “It was not for sale. It took months to find the owner (and negotiate a deal).”

The Hive combines the honey business with honey appreciation. Filled with bee-friendly perennials and shrubs, a newly planted drought-tolerant pollinator garden encircles the building’s entrance. That flows into an outdoor events area.

The Hive logo on a sign
The Hive's logo features a bee, naturally.

The tasting room will offer varietal honey samples as well as tastes of the company’s fruit and nut spreads. In addition to honey, The Hive will also specialize in mead tasting. Mead is honey-based wine.

“There are all types of mead to appeal to all types of tastes,” explains Zeldner. “The educational component of what we’re doing is what I’m excited about. We’ll be serving meads from throughout the country – California, Michigan, New Hampshire. The idea is to have a rotating selection.”

The tasting room is decorated with hives and beekeeping equipment that belonged to the company’s founder, Ishai Zeldner, who died in 2018 at age 71.

“They’re not any old hives,” said Zeldner. “They’re my dad’s equipment.

Shoshana Zeldner, Joshua’s sister, and mom Amina Harris also are integral parts of the business.

Harris, Z Specialty’s Queen Bee, has long been a proponent of varietal honeys.

“I am passionate about introducing people to taking the time to taste honey properly, noticing every unique color, flavor, aroma and texture that comes through,” she says.

The tastes can be surprising.

“Most of our honeys are collected locally,” says Joshua Zeldner. “We also offer unique international honeys. We have two from Mexico – coffee blossom and mango – and their taste is mind blowing.”

Mango honey? Imagine liquid smoke mixed with barbecue and marmalade. Better yet, ask for a taste.

Open free to the public, The Hive’s Grand Opening will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, and 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14. The Hive is located at 1221 Harter Ave., Woodland.

Festivities include live music, games, craft and food vendors, yoga and movement classes, a mobile plant nursery, food trucks, big discounts on Z Specialty products and lots of honey.

Guests are asked to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or recent negative COVID test.

Before and after the grand opening, The Hive’s tasting room is open from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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