As sweet as honey

The House of Bees and Honey at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai is home to more than 5,000 beehives, making it the largest apiary in all of Israel.

A bee collects pollen from a flower. (photo credit: GILAD KAVALERCHIK)
A bee collects pollen from a flower.
(photo credit: GILAD KAVALERCHIK)
The summer is coming to an end and the High Holy Days will soon be upon us. In honor of Rosh Hashana, the Israeli Honey Board is holding its annual festival, As Sweet As Honey.
Participants can visit honey producers, meet the beekeepers, taste an assortment of honeys and learn about the importance of the foodstuff in our lives.
The festival, which will commence on September 27, is also a great opportunity for children and adults alike to learn why the number of bees in the world is diminishing, and what we can do to counteract this phenomenon.
Many people don’t know that bees are an extremely important part of our ecological structure. They are responsible for pollinating plants, which is necessary for them to reproduce – a major contributor to the abundance and quality of tasty crops consumed by the masses.
Today, scientists are studying bees carefully in an effort to stop the number of bees from falling even further, and to save the entire honey industry.
As part of the As Sweet As Honey festival, dozens of honey-related activities and workshops are being organized. Visitors will be able to see the bees up close and buy honey products, even honey liquors. Most of the activities will be held indoors, so even if it’s very hot, visitors will still be able to enjoy themselves immensely.
Honey from the desert It turns out there are a number of successful apiaries in the South, and the beekeepers at Porat Apiary in Moshav Ein Yahav love to educate visitors about honey in a unique and artistic way.
During the festival, residents will put on a show that illustrates how the moshav was established, with visitors free to view artwork by Cheche Porat.
The moshav is also home to a museum that portrays how bees exist in the desert.
Upon entering, you will see thousands of metal bees flying around. If you have a bee phobia, the first few minutes might be uncomfortable, but you will soon get used to the feeling of being inside a hive. Inside the glass-covered walls, watch the bees busily do their work; afterwards, watch a movie about bees and shop for olive oil, local wine and, of course, honey.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Reservations requested.
Cost: NIS 35.
Information: 052-366-6032. House of bees and honey The House of Bees and Honey at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai is home to more than 5,000 beehives, making it the largest apiary in all of Israel.
Yad Mordechai is also home to an impressive visitors’ center that will keep you busy for a few hours.
The House of Bees has a huge beehive enclosed within glass through which you can watch the bees busy at work, and a film that shows how the bees produce honey. One educational activity the museum offers is baking honey cake (and, of course, tasting the final product!); another is making candles from beeswax. Children will be happy to see an old tank on the premises they can climb up and jump off. In addition, watch cows being milked in the shed or take a ride on a tractor.
Hours: Saturdays and holidays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: NIS 55.
Information: (08) 672-0559.
Lin’s Bee Farm If you’d rather visit an apiary in the Center, you will not be disappointed.
A family-run business, Lin’s Bee Farm in Kfar Bilu is the most well-known and has been making honey for more than 30 years.
Visitors can learn how honey is produced, and put on beekeeper protective gear and experience what it’s like to do the work; there is also a short video for viewing.
Open by appointment only. Closed Saturdays.
Cost: NIS 20 to NIS 30.
Information: 054-220-7965.
Dvorat Hatavor The Dvorat Hatavor apiary on Moshav Shadmot Dvora is proud to announce that its skilled beekeeper, Boaz Ben-Zeev, came in third at the 10th annual Worldwide Bee Beard Competition in Ontario – having had more than 24,000 bees on his face! Visitors can watch footage of the competition, and children can make a bee beard for themselves.
Visitors to Dvorat Hatavor can tour the facility where beekeepers remove honey from hives, and also view thousands of silk cocoons produced by silkworms. The tour ends with a fantastic workshop in which you can make chocolate and honey treats, candles, decorative plaster objects and bee shawls.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: NIS 35 to NIS 48.
Information: (04) 676-9598.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.