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Farmers Market: Hog Heaven Honey also sells the bees

Tina and Neil Sebestyen also remove unwanted bees
Tina and Neil Sebestyen’s Hog Heaven Honey sell honey at the Durango Farmers Market. (Nick Gonzales/Durango Herald)

For customers interested in beekeeping, or just looking to get rid of some bees, Hog Heaven Honey is a comprehensive operation.

Tina and Neil Sebestyen sell honey at the Durango Farmers Market, but Hog Heaven also specializes in raising bees – and removing them when they’re unwanted.

“We sell honey and we also do bee removals from structures, when bees move into somebody’s attic or soffit or whatever. We’ll go rescue the bees,” Tina Sebesteyen said.

Customers who want bees for the purpose of starting a colony can purchase both queen bees and nucs, which are special frames for starting a new hive.

Sebesteyen, who has been a beekeeper for 18 years, teaches classes on the subject and writes about bees for publications such as the American Bee Journal. That knowledge is on display as she sells her honey.

“A lot of people ask me for local honey for their allergies because there’s an urban myth that local honey is great for your allergies,” she said. “But the fact is that allergies are caused by wind-borne pollen, and bees collect nectar from plants that are not wind-borne; they’re insect-borne. Totally different plants.

“ … Raw honey really does help with your allergies just because it’s such an amazing immune booster … it just doesn’t have to be from right where you live.”

Sebesteyen said Hog Heaven Honey is based halfway between Durango and Pagosa Springs, but has bees all over. As a result, the flavor of each batch of honey is unique.

“Most of my colonies are in alfalfa fields, and even the alfalfa honey from next year will taste different from this year’s,” she said. “You know the wine term ‘terroir’? That works with honey, too. The sun is different, the rain is different. And every plant that the bees produce honey from is very different as well. … For instance, my alfalfa honey probably also has some apricot blossoms in it.”

Sebestyen said she sold honey at the Bayfield Farmers Market last year, but this year was planning to focus on just the Durango Farmers Market.

“This is a really neat way to have something that is local, raw and real,” she said.


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