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Delicious, Natural Honey Made Right Here In Tennessee

When Lenny Magill, owner of the GlockStore in Nashville, bought a farm in Hampshire in 2019, he says he thought it would be a great idea to use a part of the property to curate bee hives and make honey. He thought to himself, “How hard could it be? It’s not like you have to feed bees.”

“It’s not quite as easy as I thought,” he says. “I was very lucky that I was able to get involved with the Columbia Area Beekeepers Association.”

Richard (Dick) Brickner, the president of the association, even came to help him set up the super frame boxes, where the bees make their hives and produce honey.

“The first year we had two boxes and just let the bees do their thing and thrive, and in the winter they used that honey to eat,” says Lenny. “Luckily, they produce more than they actually eat.”

The bee hives, now numbering five, are checked two to three times a month to make sure they’re healthy and that the queen hasn’t left. “My wife, Tammy, is fascinated by them and loves the whole queen bee concept.”

Initially, Lenny and Tammy, who have been married for 31 years, figured they would just keep bees and use the honey themselves. But when they had over 200 pounds of honey coming in, they knew they had to do something with it. So, Full Auto Honey Company was born. “We bottled it, put a label on it, and now sell it in our GlockStore and online,” he says.

Lenny doesn’t use any pesticides on the farm, and the honey is all natural. “The honey is in its raw state, very lightly filtered, not pasteurized and there are no additives. It’s totally pure,” he assures.

Many supermarket brands actually add sugar to make their honey sweeter, he says.

It’s been a real learning experience. He discovered that honey pulled in the spring is actually very different from that pulled in the fall. The spring batch will be lighter in texture, color and taste, whereas honey pulled in the fall will be darker and have a more caramel taste to it.

“Also, it’s supposedly good for you to eat local honey because it allows you to become accustomed to the local pollen which cuts down on allergies,” he says, indication it's a natural antihistamine.

If others are interested in starting their own beehives, Lenny says they can actually mail order a nuc (as in nucleus), which comes with the queen and about 10,000 bees. “You set them in the hive and they get busy making honey. As long as the queen is there and laying eggs, they will stay with the hive and work for her," he says. 

The Magills originally bought 50,000 bees and now have about 500,000 bees in five different hives. "When it gets warm and the sun is out, they come out and swarm around, but when it gets cold, they stay in the hive and get into a big ball and vibrate. That’s how they keep themselves warm,” he says.

Honey was not the only reason he wanted to create healthy hives on his farm. “I also heard that bees were endangered, and so I thought it would be fun to have our own brand of honey and help the environment at the same time. It’s been a great experience so far and we’re really happy that we did it,” he concludes. (Full Auto Honey:  How to harvest Tennessee Wildflower Honey)

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