Amy Wright was introduced to beekeeping as a child when her grandfather gave her a rather unusual Christmas present. Well, maybe unusual for some families, but not the Wrights. The present was a swarm of bees and all the necessary gear for starting a hobby in keeping bees and collecting honey. Her grandfather received the same present from his father years ago.
Wright loved the gift, which ignited a passion for working outdoors with her hands and learning about different types of honeybees. In the beginning, Wright and her dad harvested the honey together. They set honey-filled mason jars on the front steps of their home. And using an honor system, anyone who wanted a jar could leave the money in a birdhouse named the Honor House. “To my knowledge the honor system was never violated,” Wright recalls.
Last month Wright celebrated the one-year anniversary of her company, The Honey Hutch. She is a regular vendor at the Seaside Farmer’s Market and also sells her honey to local restaurants and shops. In Seaside you can pick up a jar at Modica Market, or taste her honey while sipping a smoothie at Raw and Juicy.
Wright sells wildflower, gallberry, red clover and, occasionally, Tupelo honey. There are different types of Wildflower honey, Beach Wildflower and South Walton Wildflower; each has a different flavor and a different season. Tupelo honey can only be harvested for a couple of weeks in the late spring.
Her Italian honeybees produce an astounding 500 gallons of honey per year. When asked what makes her honey different she explains, “Grocery store honey can be flavored corn syrup, not honey at all, it is almost impossible to regulate.” Wright also comments on the health benefits of enjoying local honey, which carries local pollen and is a natural anecdote to regional allergies. It also can serve as a great cough medicine. “Honey never spoils,” she says. “In fact, it was found in a jar in King Tut’s Tomb, though crystallized, one only needed to melt it down by sitting it in the sun on a window sill. It was still edible after 3,000 years.”
Wright has spoken at Butler Elementary School sharing her knowledge of the wonderful world of bees, and recently participated in E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center Earth Day, giving back to the community by teaching children about beekeeping and the important role bees play in our environment. She taught children, exhibiting how you first calm the bees by blowing smoke that acts to calm them down, then reaching into the box (the super) and checking to make sure the hive is covered with wax. “If the wax on the hive is disturbed by the keeper but not ready for honey extraction, the bees will repair the damage and leave the hive and its surroundings in perfect condition,” she says. “They clean up the mess and run a tidy operation!” You can order honey online and learn more about Amy Wright and The Honey Hutch at website on one line www.thehoneyhutch.com.