Meet Your Farmer

By Stefin Pasternak / Photography By Matthew Noel | August 17, 2016
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PLAN BEE


Dan Hobgood’s wholesome honey makes flavorful meads and shrubs

Dan Hobgood started honey-robbing when he was 12. It was summer in Southern Louisiana. Shirtless and shoeless, with his younger brother playing in the woods, he discovered a massive beehive in a fallen log. The two ran home, got some cotton mittens and a lampshade for a protective mask and ran back to the log. Dan stuck his fist in.

“The lampshade kept the bees trapped next to my face and chest as we ran home,” Dan remembers, chuckling. “I must’ve gotten stung a couple hundred times. But, you know, I’ve never been one to learn from my mistakes, so a couple decades later I got into the bee business.”

Hobgood is now a one-man apiarist, tending bees in over a hundred hives all on family properties across Louisiana, from Shreveport to Algiers Point.

A few decades after his childhood foray into bees, Dan and and his family try their hand at organic farming so that they could eat better. They set up shop on their family property in the tiny town of Ida, Louisiana—between Shreveport and the Arkansas border—and started growing fruits, vegetables and herbs. But a few years in, his yields were still meager and he attributed this to a dearth of pollinators.

Enter the bees.

Within a few years, his hobby turned into his main crop and he began selling his raw, unfiltered honey in farmers markets across Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

“This isn’t the $2-a-bottle, corn-syrup-flavored honey that you buy at a corner store. Everything about my honey is full of love. I’m 68 and I still rob all the hives by hand. I have a centrifuge that I crank by hand to spin the honey, then I let it drip through some cheesecloth just to get out the wings and legs, but we never filter out all the beneficial pollen or boil out the great enzymes and probiotics. I want to make sure anything I sell is great for you.”

From his wholesome honey he’s continued to innovate, creating a line of honeys infused with his homegrown herbs, then infusing his honeys with some of the fruit from his orchard to make a few flavors of mead (honey wines) and honey vinegars.

“The herb-infused honeys with basil and rosemary are lovely and the mayhaw, persimmon, blackberries and blueberries each make a delightful mead that ferment into delicious vinegars.”

What’s next for Hobgood and his hives?

“We’ve been starting to experiment with making shrubs [essentially drinking vinegars that can be added to cocktails, used as a condiment or used to flavor water] and the results are quite tasty.” His mayhaw shrub is available on the site he operates, Bee-Goods.com.

You can find Dan and his honey at the Crescent City Farmers Markets many Tuesdays and Sundays,, on Bee-Goods. com, or reach him directly at dhobgood@bellsouth.net.

Article from Edible New Orleans at http://edibleneworleans.ediblecommunities.com/drink/meet-your-farmer
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