Los Angeles A-listers are raising bees in their backyards. The results are surprisingly delicious and support some great charities as well.

Hives on a Hill

The beehives at Flamingo Estate. Photo by Thomas J. Story.

Like so many cities in the West, Los Angeles could be honey heaven if we set up beehives throughout the urban sprawl. Imagine drizzling your toast or sweetening your tea with honey produced by bees supping on nectar and pollen from flowering plants in your zip code. This utopian agrarian fantasy is becoming a reality thanks to the new Private Harvest line of honeys produced by Flamingo Estate, the urban farm and lifestyle brand that sells botanically-infused bath and body products, candles, and exquisitely curated farm boxes. And in a very L.A. twist, some of the honey comes from hives set up at the homes of people such as Will Ferrell and LeBron James. The jars cost $250 a piece, are available in super limited runs, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to charities of the property owner’s choosing (the honeys are listed in Flamingo Estate’s print catalog but won’t be available to order until December 4th). Are they worth it? Combine Flamingo Estate’s track record with honey, the sheer novelty of knowing you’re getting that sweet dopamine honey hit thanks to bees who’ve bumbled near greatness, and the positive charitable impact, and I’d say yes. 

Some of the best honey I’ve ever eaten was the first batch produced by Flamingo Estate. It was the honey of your dreams: dark and complex and herbaceous and caramel-sweet with none of the sharp and cloying notes of a lot of stuff you can get at the supermarket. Drizzled on buttered bread and stirred into tea it was life affirming and beyond delicious. And you can thank the urban bees of east Los Angeles for that deliciousness. The hives that produced that honey were on a hill at Flamingo Estate where the bees spent most of their days buzzing from one to another of the hundreds of fruit trees, shrubs, native sages, and other flowering plants on the property. 

As with all honey, the varieties in this series will each taste differently as a result of the various botanicals the bees foraged in each location. Tiffany Haddish’s property in central Los Angeles offers trumpet flower and thyme; Savannah and LeBron James’s honey comes from Chinese elm, eucalyptus, and native wildflowers; while Will Ferrell’s Laurel Canyon bees sipped acacia and oak. Non-L.A. notables in the series are Julianne Moore and Ai Weiwei. Charities include Everytown for Gun Safety, the LeBron James Family Foundation, and Cancer for College. It’s the definition of sweet charity. 

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