For Farmer, Buzzword Is Honey Sweet Success With 50,000 Bees.

Posted: September 25, 1995

Things can get downright sticky around Bob Harvey's South Jersey farm.

Besides the usual collection of cows, chickens, ducks and dogs, the 64- acre, family-owned farm in Elmer, Salem County, is home to 2,500 beehives, each containing about 50,000 honeybees.

Harvey is one of the nation's 1,200 commercial honey producers.

The 46-year-old Harvey, a former building contractor, has been a commercial honey producer since 1975. He sends his bees out for weeks at a time to 200 area farms, where they pollinate crops such as cantaloupe, cranberries, apples and blueberries.

The bees produce about 120,000 pounds of honey each season, which Harvey sells under the name Harvey's Honey at local farmer's markets and health-food stores.

Harvey's Honey has made $125,000 so far this year from pollination and an additional $75,000 from honey sales.

Another of the the area's big producers is Fruitwood Orchards Honey Inc. in Elk Township. Dennis Wright, 36, owns the company with his father, Everett.

The Wrights have about 2,000 hives that produce about 60,000 pounds. Fruitwood's honey products, which come in such exotic varieties as orange- blossom honey and honey-cranberry apple spread, can be found in farmers' markets, gourmet and health-food shops, and in Strawbridge & Clothier.

The company's tony customers include Le Bec-Fin and the Four Seasons hotel.

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