- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That's Z Specialty Food's newly constructed The HIVE, located at 1221 Harter Ave. Woodland. It's 42 years in the making, including four years of design and construction, said self-described "Queen Bee" Amina Harris of the family-owned business.
A grand opening public celebration, featuring live bands, plant tours, family activities, and honey and mead sales, as well as food available from the HIVE and local food trucks, will take place Saturday, Nov. 13 from 1 to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Z Specialty Food, home of the Island of the Moon Apiaries, the Moon Shine Trading Company, and The HIVE, specializes in 30-plus honey varietals, including Mexican coffee golden reserve varietal honey, Northwestern blackberry gourmet varietal honey, Florida white tupelo honey, and California spring wildflower honey. Another favorite: starthistle honey, favored by many beekeepers.
“I am passionate about introducing people to taking the time to taste honey properly, noticing every unique color, flavor, aroma and texture that comes through,” Harris said.
Inside the 20,000-square-foot, Zero Net Energy facility is an "upscale wine tasting room, with a rustic wood rustic-clad bar where visitors stand while an employee behind the bar offers honey samples on tiny plastic spoons," according to an article in Sacramento Magazine. "Each honey is surprisingly unique, with its own distinct color, aroma and flavor profile."
Harris, who serves as the director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, said her husband, the late Ishai "Charles" Zeldner, founded Z Specialty Food in 1979. A fourth-generation food merchant who worked with a beekeeping operation in Israel while living in the kibbutz, Beit HaShita, he later studied apiculture at UC Davis. He died June 17, 2018 at his home in Davis at age 71.
"Our late founder, Ishai Zeldner, always wanted a place to host people from all over the world, and blow their minds around the vast array of flavors, colors and textures of varietal honey," the website relates. "Now you can experience the fruits of our labor, from a family business that has been through it all over the last 42 years, and counting."
Son Joshua Zeldner, nectar director of Z Specialty Food, commented about the grand opening celebration: "It's hard to believe we are finally here, a true dream come true..." His dad, he said, "always wanted to have a ‘honey museum' on I-5, and now we do. I am so excited to invite people to experience what we have created, the full circle of plants, bees, honey and mead."
The site includes a courtyard and a pollinator garden.