Cross Creek Honey Company
Jennifer Newstadt never thought she’d get into the bee business. “My mother-in-law had retired and taken up beekeeping,” Jennifer said. “My other half had lost his job and came home one day and said ‘Honey, I’m gonna be a beekeeper.’” And that’s how Cross Creek Honey Company came to be, when Jennifer and her partner Nick Gentry began an apiary business based in Interlachen.
“I was an office manager, on my way to a big city to work for a corporation,” Jennifer said. “I have a business degree, and Nick needed someone to do the business end.” Business is thriving these days, and Cross Creek Honey Company has come to specialize in a variety of honeys, as well as beeswax candles, soaps, lotions, and lip balm.
“The closer you can get honey from the source, the better. Beekeepers have the wider variety of honeys not available anywhere else,” Jennifer said.
Cross Creek Honey Company moves their bees to different nectar flows throughout the year and around the state, following orange blossoms in central Florida, Tupelo blooms in the panhandle, as well as gallberry, palmetto, and wildflower blossoms right around Gainesville. “We choose a lot of conservation areas because we know our bees are safe,” said Jennifer. “If we do bring them to a farm, it has to be a farm without pesticides.”
A high standard of quality is important to this small apiary. Cross Creek sells exclusively strained raw honey that’s never heated or filtered. Why? Because if honey is heated past 160 degrees, all the enzymes and pollen break down, which just turns it into sugar. Filtered honey loses good ingredients, and also it becomes untraceable because there’s no pollen. And why does that matter? We should know where our honey comes from because honey is often cut with high fructose corn syrup. “They’ll do anything they can to make the honey go a long way. That’s why we worked to create the first honey standard in Florida. We feel if you’re going to call it honey, it should be just honey.”
Come sample some of the many varieties of honey at the Cross Creek Honey Company’s stand this Saturday at the Haile Farmers Market to see which kind you like best, and see what else Jennifer can tell you about her bees. “I never expected to be beekeeping at this point,” she said. “I don’t think I’d trade it for anything. We say the bees keep us, we’re very lucky for them. “