Smiley Apiaries was started by Donald Smiley in 1989. Born and raised in Wewahitchka -- the epicenter of tupelo honey production in the US -- Donald got into beekeeping later in life. Once he had a few hives, however, he was hooked. Donald recalls that "it was like falling in love all over again." Working the bees and harvesting honey became his passion. At the height of his operations, Donald had over 1,000 beehives. Recently, Donald sold his bees and retired from day to day operations. But he remains a key part of the business, teaching the new owners how to produce the same premium honey that he offered to loyal customers for many years.
We bottle and sell premium, all-natural and 100% pure raw honey. It comes to you exactly as the bees made it. Our way of processing preserves all of the good stuff, such as beneficial enzymes, pollens, vitamins and minerals. We do warm the honey slightly (to 100 degrees or so) to facilitate bottling, and we strain out the bigger pieces of beeswax and bee parts. But you may still see small foam layer at the top of the bottle, or a few specks floating in your honey. These are edible and they attest to the natural goodness of our products.
The flavor and quality of honey depends on a number of key factors, including: the strength of the bee colonies; the location of the bee yards; proper care and management of the beehives; and the weather. We can control the first three factors, but the fourth is a wildcard that produces many a sleepless night for our beekeeper partners. When Mother Nature is in a good mood, the bees are happy too. Happy bees make bumper honey crops. But when the weather turns bad, low yields are the result.
Raw honey is a wonderful gift from nature. Not only does it taste great, but the health benefits of raw honey are well-documented. It is a powerful antioxidant, it boosts the immune system, it promotes better digestion, and helps to regulate cholesterol and sugar levels (among other things). Many honey lovers also report that local, raw honey helps to treat seasonal allergies. Raw honey is loaded with beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals, which we preserve through minimal processing. Healthy living and raw honey go together like summer and sunshine. And our honey is about as close as you can get to reaching into a beehive and grabbing a handful of golden sweetness.
NOTICE: Do not feed raw honey to children under one year old. Raw honey may contain botulism spores, for which infants have not developed any internal defenses. Infant botulism is a rare but serious form of food poisoning.
If you are ever down in Wewahitchka, please drop by. We love visitors, and our prices at the door are lower than our internet prices (due to less handling and no shipping). We are open (most of the time) Monday through Friday from 8 to 4 Central Time.