MYAKKA CITY, Fla. - Off of MJ Road in Myakka City, you'll find Honey Bee Lane. At the end of the lane, you'll find Heritage Bee Farm, a local business that's keeping it all in the family.
Beekeeping started out as a hobby for Chris Vasquez.
"I think bees are fascinating," he explained. "They're the only insect that gives us a food product and they also give us so much more. They produce the fruits and vegetables that we all enjoy.”
After working 25 years in the corporate field, he decided to call it quits and start a new venture.
"I was ready to get out of that environment and wanted to do something we could all have a part in," Vasquez said.
Vasquez, his wife and nine children built up Heritage Bee Farm. They produce raw, unfiltered honey, straight from the hive, but it's not just a honey operation. They also work to raise healthy queen bees, the most important part of any hive.
Each queen is sold across the country to help keep hives thriving.
"We transfer the larva, put them into a frame and then move them into a hive that is queen-less and immediately that queen-less hive goes to work to raise up new queens," said Vasquez.
The Vasquez family say they have found their calling.
"Keeping good healthy bees produce good honey, produces good bees for pollination for crops across the country," Vasquez said.
They work together creating handcrafted products from their hives, including soaps, lotions, candles and more. Each product is sold throughout the state. It's a true family business in our own backyard.
"This can get addicting. We started out with two hives and this spring we will be starting off with about 1,000 colonies and later in the summer our plan is to be at 3,000 colonies," Vasquez explained.
Heritage Bee Farm is located at 13339 MJ Road in Myakka City. The public is welcome to visit. The honey is available at Detwiler's Farm Market in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
LINK: Click here to learn more about the farm.