Organic Honey Production with Julie Hobbins and Robyn Daley

A serendipitous meeting between like-minded folk leads to a conscientious organic honey production business in California.


| Fall 2015



Tree

Keeping bees is an ancient art creating a mutually beneficial relationship between humans and pollinators. The bee hives are kept cool from the afternoon sun under a large California Coastal Oak tree.

Photo by Julie Ann Fineman

Jules in the Garden with Robyn and Bees

Well, not exactly in the garden, more like in the backyard of Wanda’s modernist renovation, then in an organic orange grove with beehives. So what ties these disparate locales together? A Kinfolk-style gathering exploring the nuances of bees, beekeeping and bee ecology, coupled with an artisan honey tasting.

Combining a bunch of purposes, we are in beautiful Ojai, California celebrating Lee’s birthday, staying in a beautiful house on an organic farm, visiting Wanda’s MODERN FOLK LIVING store in town, shopping for vintage bits used as props for Julie’s agrarian photography … and learning about bees.

MODERN FOLK LIVING is a project of Wanda Weller Sakai, former design director for Patagonia. Her store has “curated goods” representing modern design with a handcrafted feel sourced regionally whenever possible. She’s a kind of retail design-locavore. In her words, “The shop features mindful, thoughtful, questioning, eco-brands.”

One of her related projects is a connection with Kinfolk magazine to build community around gatherings that inform, enlighten and introduce neighbors. For a typical gathering, Kinfolk sets prospective themes, but the local organizers provide the detailed vision, customize to the locale, find a comfortable setting and emphasize participation instead of observation. The honey-tasting is the second of ten events Wanda is planning for this year.

Which brings us to Wanda’s backyard and Julie Hobbins & Robyn Dalbey, partners in Honey by Jules in the Garden. Julie is a landscape designer by trade with degrees in horticulture and culinary arts. Robyn is an artist, but kismet brought them together around bees, literally & figuratively.

Julie is fascinated by the buzzing critters, their social rhythms, their place in the successful ecology of plant species. She has been a “local hobby beekeeper” for 10 years.





elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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