Beekeeper Gary Bramer talks about honeybees in Indiana at the annual Hunter’s Honey Farm fall festival. The farm has around 500 hives throughout the state.
Beekeeper Gary Bramer talks about honeybees in Indiana at the annual Hunter’s Honey Farm fall festival. The farm has around 500 hives throughout the state.

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — Life is sweet at Hunter’s Honey Farm, which recently celebrated its annual fall festival.

Helicopter rides, barn tours and farm-fresh food were some of the highlights of the weekend, which attracted around 1,500 visitors.

The Hunter family has been beekeeping for 101 years, but the festival is a fairly recent development.

“The festival has been going for 10 years now,” explained Tracy Hunter, co-owner of the farm. “What’s nice about our festival is that not only can they come out and enjoy some fun activities, but they can also so how we produce a jar of honey.”

Guests enjoyed horse rides, apple cider and honey-flavored food.

“We offered free tours of the honey barn, where they could watch my son extracting the honey,” Hunter said. “We were back there dipping candles and bottling honey. There was a lot going on.”

Gary Bramer, a beekeeper at the farm, said guests learned about the byproducts of the honey extraction process.

“We told people some of the things we do with the different products that come out of the hive,” he said. “There are several products, like wax, pollen, different hand creams and lip balms.”

Bramer said this year’s bee hives are doing well, but some are suffering from colony collapse disorder, a scenario in which all the bees will leave the hive.

“I’ve seen about 20 hives disappear in the last couple weeks,” he said.

The Hunters’ farm has around 500 hives throughout the state that pollinate crops such as watermelons, apples and pumpkins.

Tracy Hunter runs the farm with wife Christina and children Ross and Mackenzie. The family has a rich history associated with beekeeping.

“My grandfather started in 1910,” Hunter said. “He got the bees for his father’s orchard. He was a schoolteacher and beekeeper. My mom was a schoolteacher and a beekeeper, and now my wife and I are school teachers and beekeepers.

“We’re the third generation. I teach high school science, and my wife teaches middle school home economics.”

Along with the honey business, the Hunters know the ins and outs of the Christmas tree business, as well. They grow and sell around 4,000 trees.

“The Christmas trees are a college fund for my children,” Hunter said. “We start selling trees the weekend after Thanksgiving. They can choose and cut any tree out there. We shake it and bale it at no extra charge.”

For more information, visit www.huntershoneyfarm.com.