Food Profiling is a new feature on SAFII where we get to know locals who run a business making their own food outside restaurants. If you know a person or product of OC origin that you'd like to see featured, let us know!
A friend asked Fullerton resident Richard Haffke if he could help move some stuff at night. When Richard asked what needed moving at that hour, his friend answered, “Bees.” It was the first time he heard about beekeeping. That was 13 years ago.
Now, Haffke has his own swarm and sells their honey at local farmers markets. Named after his grandson, Noah's Honey harvests its sweet treasure from three locations: Silverado Canyon, San Dimas, and Fallbrook. Flavors are based on from which plants the bees gather nectar during a particular season–for instance, the current selection includes orange, wildflower, and sage. In addition, they make single serving, naturally flavored “honey sticks” in whimsical tastes like root beer (my favorite). Haffke is currently making a great BBQ sauce by blending wildflower honey, mustard and soy sauce. The stuff Haffke gathers from his hive is so delicious and healthy that his queen bee prefers substituting sugar with honey in her muffin recipes.
At $16 for 2 ounces(!), royal jelly is sold as an organic that is, according to Haffke, “good for insides.” Devotees spoon themselves a daily serving like I pop a multivitamin. He's heard about folks who use them on sores, and knows it's also an ingredient in some makeup. I heard it can even double as a quick facial. That might explain why, at 76 years young, Mr. Haffke appears pretty youthful inside and out.
While I wasn't allowed to visit their facilities for safety reasons, it certainly doesn't stop the bears from knocking down hives. Watching attacks from afar, this is when being stung by one of his wards is the least of Haffke's concerns. Despite the occasional setback, his team ultimately collects the product in buckets and 55-gallon drums for extraction and processing. Their filtration process includes a double strain through cheesecloth to remove traces of pollen and provide the purest honey possible. Giving this extra attention adds to its subtle, yet comforting taste.
To check out Haffke's honey, buzz to the farmers market in Tustin on Wednesdays, or Laguna Hills on Fridays. On weekends, Noah's Honey can bee (sorry: couldn't resist!) found in Yorba Linda. In a couple of weeks, Haffke will branch out into Los Angeles County by setting up at the South Gate Farmers Market on Mondays. Then in April, they will frequent downtown Fullerton's farmers market when it opens again. Haffke doesn't have a website or even a phone number for his business, so you'll just have to show up to taste his sweet, sweet honey.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.