Nuts for Bees​: An Orchard-to-Hive Adventure

Sunday, February 26, 2017, 8:45 am - 3:30 pm

It’s blossom time in the almond orchards, so we’re heading out to the Central Valley to take in the beauty of the flowers and see pollination and almond farming in action. Then we’ll return to San Francisco to learn about the bees that make almond production possible, and to taste hyperlocal honey from SF neighborhoods. 

We’ll visit longtime Ferry Plaza Farmers Market sellers John Lagier and Casey Havre of Lagier Ranches to walk among the trees in bloom, learn about almond production, and try our hands at making almond butter.  After a delicious lunch at the farm, we’ll return to San Francisco for a “meet and greet” with Robert MacKimmie of City Bees, who is bringing one of his hives to Craftsman and Wolves’ DEN in the Bayview neighborhood for the day. We’ll get up close and personal (but only if you want to!) with the honeybees and learn a little about these amazing and essential creatures, while enjoying a sweet honey-forward treat from the bakers at Craftsman and Wolves.


John Lagier started farming in 1979 with an 80-acre almond orchard and 18 acres of cherries. In the early 1990s, he transitioned to organic practices. The farm’s mission statement reads, “Lagier Ranches recognizes its responsibility as a steward of the Earth. This value is reflected in environmentally conscious use of water, energy, and other resources with our organic farming practices. This is a socially responsible organization based on a sound ethic of fairness to customers, employees, regulatory agencies, and our community.” John is a fourth-generation farmer on his land. His great-grandfather raised mules and dry-farmed wheat and barley; his grandfather farmed grapes and raised cattle, and his parents grew melons, tomatoes, grapes, and almonds. John and Casey met at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in 2004. 

Coming from a background in fine art photography, Robert MacKimmie got hooked on beekeeping in 1996 after working with Spencer and Helene Marshall of Marshalls Farm Honey, transforming his passion into a full-time career as an urban apiarist in 2009. Each San Francisco neighborhood has its own microclimate and vegetation that contribute to the diversity of flavors that emerge in City Bees’ honeys. Honey offerings vary from market to market, depending on which hives he visits that week. Robert finds great reward in working with such intelligent and gentle creatures and plans to be a honeybee steward for life.

William Werner opened Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2012, in Russian Hill in 2015, and in the Bayview in 2016. A firm believer that “you eat with your eyes first,” he begins by visualizing the final product, including its shape, size, texture, “eatability,” and presentation, and then backpedals into the ingredients and flavors. The farmers market serves both as Werner’s inspiration and as a source of ingredients for the shop’s pastries, cakes, confections, jams, and other sweet and savory fare.

Tickets include round trip transportation from the Craftsman & Wolves DEN (which will be open before the bus leaves, in case you want a breakfast treat or coffee) in the Bayview neighborhood of SF in a comfortable bus, a farm-fresh lunch featuring seasonal produce, courtesy of CUESA, and an afternoon treat at Craftsman & Wolves.  Please note that this tour does not depart from or return to the Ferry Building.

Where to meet: Meet in front of Craftsman & Wolves DEN at 1598 Yosemite Avenue. Please arrive by 8:45 am; we leave at 9:00 am. Please be prompt! We cannot wait for stragglers. There should be ample street parking in the neighborhood if you choose to drive.

Things to know: The weather can be unpredictable. Please dress in layers. Shoes must be appropriate for walking around the farm, closed-toe and preferably waterproof. It is unlikely the bees will be agressive, but almost everyone will have a local reaction to a bee sting, which can be painful. However, if you are anaphylactically allergic to bee stings, you know that is a life-threatening condition, and you should be sure to carry an epi pen in case you are stung.

The tour is geared toward adults and will probably not be enjoyable for young children. Children who are likely to appreciate an adult-level tour are welcome to come with their guardians. Please call if you have questions.

Bring: A water bottle, layers, sunscreen. Optional: snacks, a camera, a book or other entertainment for the bus, and cash for purchases. We will do our best to finish by 4:00 pm, but traffic conditions can be unpredictable and we can’t guarantee an exact end time for our tour.

We sincerely thank our farm tour sponsor, First National Bank of Northern California, for underwriting tour costs and Coach 21 for providing a discount on the bus charter fee.

Please note: Tickets are nonrefundable but are transferable to another guest for this tour.

A note about price: CUESA is committed to providing accessible food system education to all. If you are interested in a scholarship for one of our farm tours, please email Carrie Sullivan ( for a scholarship application.