For Creek House Honey Farm, the road to success, though sweet, did not begin as smooth as honey. Owners George and Paige Nester established the farm in 2011 with novice information about bees and beekeeping. Today, however, the farm, located in Canyon, Texas, thrives in an unexpected desert environment and provides a unique brand of bee by-products for Texans to indulge in.
The Nesters’ journey began in 2010. To aid the pollination process in their home plants, the husband and wife ordered beehives. George, who has a doctorate degree in pharmacy, and Paige, who earned a teaching certificate for biology and art, combined their efforts. “We knew absolutely nothing when we first began,” the owners said.
This prompted the business owners to seek more information, especially from surrounding cities and experts.
According to the Nesters, there were only a handful of individuals beekeeping a decade ago. “There were lots of emails and phone calls to beekeepers around the Amarillo and Lubbock area,” the owners said. While the beekeepers lent their expertise, the Nesters learned, in order to reap the fruits, or honey, of their labor, they had to make the bees a priority. “The most difficult part was learning that we couldn’t depend on other people to take care of our bees,” the owners said.
After an encounter with a beekeeper who assisted the Nesters with their hives, the business owners said they began reading up on bee literature through magazines, books, and other publications. “We fell in love with beekeeping!”
It was not until the honey boom the two experienced that the Nesters quickly realized how their bees could not only pollinate their plants, but also make them money. “The local honey explosion was really what kicked off our dream for the farm,” the owners said. The Nesters said it began with a small waiting list, people who were eager for their honey the first year. When they began their second year, the requests kept coming. The Nesters also began crafting beeswax skincare products.
“We were still at a ‘hobby’ stage up until 2016, when we decided that this was what we wanted to do when we ‘grew up.’”
The next step was getting funded, so the Nesters said they contacted the USDA. “They gave us the loan to build our current retail farm and buy equipment.” Since then, Creek House Honey Farm has expanded its efforts to achieve the farm’s mission and purpose in educating the community about honeybees and their importance to the world and health.
At Creek House Honey Farm, the honey is pure and unfiltered, made directly from the farm bees. The honey even goes through the natural crystallization process, which allows the honey to develop a buttery consistency that is easily spreadable on the carb of your choosing. Creek House Honey Farm provides a variety of natural flavors to dip into, from chocolate, jalapeño-spun, and cinnamon pecan that are great additions to incorporate into a morning breakfast or beverage. The farm’s honey variations come in glass, muth, and plastic jars to take home.
Visitors can also take home the farm’s own line of skincare. According to the Nesters, the beeswax skincare line they launched in 2012 all started with a lip balm. “I told my husband that if we were planning on opening a honey farm in the future, I did not want to sell commercially branded products,” Paige said. “I wanted something that was going to heal the skin and be a good, natural choice for people.”
While the creative process developing the products proved to be a lot of work, the Nesters’ line expanded. Today, the Creek House brand sells soap, oil, chapstick, and deodorant. The couple has even grown to include products like anti-aging agents, lotions and ointments for sensitive skin, and healing salves that can soothe dry skin, especially in Canyon. “[The beeswax skincare products] now make up more than half of our total sales,” the owners said.
Out of all of these products, the Beeswax Lotion proves to be the brand’s best selling product, and for good reason. “The Texas Panhandle has super dry weather and people around here need a good lotion!”
For a more immersive experience, Creek House Honey Farm offers visitors a look at how the farm operates. In 2014, the Nesters said they began teaching beekeeping classes. But, individuals attending these classes were actually interested in understanding the process. This then resulted in the farm providing beehive tours three years later. “A lot of people are very nervous or scared to get into a hive,” the owners said. But, the tour leaves visitors with a newfound appreciation for bees. “They just cannot believe the wealth of information that they learn about honeybees,” the owners said. “Also, how calm a beehive is.”
The newest installation at Creek House Honey Farm is the Honey Buzz winery. George opened the spot on the farm in May 2019 where visitors can sip on adult beverages. The catchy name follows with tasty beverages as the winery offers bottled mead and mead on tap. If you are searching for something a bit more refreshing, Honey Buzz’s mead slushies could hit the spot!
With stunning views of the West Texas skies and Tierra Blanca Creek, the Nesters have continued to tend and pour love into the Creek House Honey Farm. “We are unique because, not only are we a bee apiary, but we also make all of our own beeswax skincare products,” the owners said. “With a terrific location and lots to offer, we are a fun destination to visit when vacationing.”