The Chinook Honey Company is giving people a chance to get up close and personal with the busy bees that keep the popular foothills honey farm buzzing.
Owners Art and Cherie Andrews lead weekly tours of both the apiary and meadery showing people how they make their honey and the mead honey wine that is gaining attention.
Located west of Okotoks, just off Highway 7, Chinook Honey offers tours in May with enough space for as many as 50 people, an observation hive and videos of beekeepers in action.
“It’s more spacious and we’ll have more going on,” said Cherie. “It’s going to be more tailored to the audience with some more in depth displays.”
Starting in May, drop in tours will be held on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays. Additional tours will be held in the summer on Thursdays and Fridays. Apiary tours last about 45 minutes and meadery tours take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
Tours for groups of 10 people or more can be booked at any time.
There is a growing buzz about mead.
The Andrews were the first in Alberta to make and market honey wine at the Chinook Arch Meadery.
Mead may be the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man, but Cherie said Albertans are just starting to learn more about it and what makes it different from its grape-based cousin.
“It’s interesting because people are become more knowledgeable about mead,” she said. “It’s something people understand a little bit about.”
Chinook Honey is adding to its existing roster of meads this year, including the new Bochet, made from ancient recipes where the honey is first caramelized before fermentation. It will join Chinook’s line-up of 10 to 12 different meads.
The 10th annual Harvest Festival is Saturday, Aug. 23 starting at 10 a.m. Events that day include open hive and extraction demonstrations, as well as mead tours and tastings.
Of course, Chinook Honey Company offers a wide selection of different honeys and honey-based products, such as mead vinaigrette and even honey ice cream.
For more information on the Chinook Honey Company, visit www.chinookhoney.com.