Marshall's Farm 
(Flying Bee Ranch)
157-159 Lombard Road
Napa, CA 94503
Telephone: (800) 624-4637;  (707) 224-6373
                   (707) 258-3573 (voice mail)
Fax:            (707) 224-6388
  marshall.jpg (31525 bytes)

Loaded with Bees
Helene and Spencer Marshall are responsible for the well-being of more than 30 million bees living in 650 hives.  The hives are  scattered around the Bay Area.  Some stay put for the entire year, while others are moved from location to location to capture the local seasonal bloom. For example, some hives go south for the orange blossom season and to east for the manzanita blooms, while hives producing wildflower honey stay put to capture whatever wildflowers bloom in that location.   There are also several locations in private gardens in San Francisco, including some in upscale Pacific Heights!

Making Honey
Honey is ready to harvest when  the bees have capped the honeycomb with a thin layer of white wax. This layer tells the beekeeper that the bees have declared the honeycomb to be full and have sealed it for future use as their food. The white capped honeycombs, which are in a structured frame, are removed and brought to the Marshall's Honey House in Fairfax for processing.  The process for extracting honey from a comb consist of:

1. Uncapping the honeycomb by removing the thin layer of wax with either a hot knife or a motorized "uncapper".

2.  The uncapped frames are placed in an extractor, which holds 32 - 64 frames. The extractor spins the frames and the honey is splashed out, against the walls of a stainless steel drum.

3.  The honey drips out of a spout into a bucket at the base of the extractor.   The beeswax and any hive debris floats to the top where it is later scooped off.

4.  The honey is then strained through a loosely-woven cheesecloth to remove the debris, leaving the pollen in the honey.

5.  The honey is then bottled and ready to sell.

Common and Unusual Varieties of Honey
The Marshalls produce many different varieties of honey:

Seasonal Blooms


A winter honey from the Blue Gum Eucalyptus and Acacia. The strongest tasting of all Marshall honeys.

Orange Blossom

Light, flowery taste and color. (From the Fresno area.)

Star Thistle

A unique taste and lighter in color than most honey. (From Marin County and points north.)


Rich and dark. (From the Sierra foothills.)


A healthful and mild honey.

Bay Area Wildflower

There are often  a 100 variations in a year! Complex flavors, reflecting the mix of nectar from many types of seasonal wildflowers. Light honey, from spring harvests, is mild tasting. Darker honey, from fall harvests, is strong tasting.


Limited Edition Honeys


Harvested from the organic gardens of the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena. This honey is complex, reflecting the flowers, seasonal crops, herbs and wildflowers that grow in the garden.


From the lavender fields in Sonoma County. A recent addition.

Pumpkin Blossom

Incredibly unique, with a "squashy" taste.

Wild Blackberry

A very delicate flavor.

94BZZ From San Francisco's  private gardens.

A colorful assortment of honey straws sell for $0. 25 each/15 for $3.00 and come in a dozen flavors, such as strawberry, peach, blueberry and pina colada!  A 12 oz. plastic honey bear sells for $4.00. Other jars, ranging in size from 2 oz - 48 oz., sell for $2.50 - $12.50, depending on the honey variety and the size.

Meant for the Business Together
Helene and Spencer began a full-scale honey operation in 1990.  Each had an interest in beekeeping and honey making even before they met, though they came to beekeeping and honey production from two very different routes:

Spencer comes from a farming family originally from Scotland.  His family worked their way West, where they ran cattle, raised turkeys, grew grain and operated a prize-winning dairy.  In addition to running the family farm, Spencer was a pollinator, running hives to apple, cherry, almond and clover fields.

Helene describes herself as a "city girl", from a non-farming background, but with an interest in bees and honey. Even before meeting Spencer, Helene had bees in her life.  While a student at U.C. Berkeley, she jointly managed 3 beehives with her forestry professor.

When Helene was introduced to Spencer, she knew enough about bees to ask him some intelligent "bee" questions and a romance blossomed.   Helene happily took on the challenge of marketing the honey that Spencer now produces. She comes to the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market decked out in a cap and jacket covered with bees designs and does a brisk business. One could say that "she's as busy as any of the Marshall's 30 million bees"!  Spencer, meanwhile, has perfected his beekeeping skills and has expanded his apiary sites to produce distinctive honey varieties from San Francisco's many microclimates and niches.

Visit the Honey House
You can visit the Marshall Honey House at Flying Bee Ranch in American Canyon (the gateway to the Napa Valley), which is about 1 hour drive from San Francisco. There you'll be able to see how honey is extracted and bottled and to taste many varieties of honey in the Tasting Room.  For more information and directions visit the Marshall's Farm website at

Updated September 2000.

Back to
Saturday Market Home Page

To contact the vendor, please use information at the top of this page.