SEGUIN, TEXAS - South Texas is home to a number of crops, but one of those doesn't sprout from the ground.
In Seguin, Gretchen Bee Ranch is the producer of some of the biggest honey crops in this region.
Seven million bees in hives scattered across south Texas.
"This is where it all starts," Gretchen Bee Ranch Co-Owner Mark Gretchen said.
Mark Gretchen's curiosity with bees started back in the 80's as a hobby.
Then seven years ago, he and his wife Thien, decided to make a business out of it.
"Gretchen Bee Ranch is really focused on two things. One is simply increasing the number of bees we have in our area," Mark Gretchen said. “The other emphasis is that we like to produce honey. We feel like it's a really nice and healthy product."
Two hundred bee colonies are scattered around Guadalupe County and the surrounding area. Helping to produce the many different kinds of honey and beeswax products the ranch produces.
"We don't know any other place," Mark Gretchen said. “Where people can go and shop for a dozen different kinds of local honeys.”
Once summertime hits, the honey is extracted in the field and is brought back to the bottling tank.
Pollen from the bees is collected and put into jars to help people with allergies.
Even the beeswax is put to good use.
"It gives us a chance to use everything the bees make that's coming out of the hives and not waste anything that they've done," Gretchen Bee Ranch Co-Owner Thien Gretchen said.
They melt down the beeswax to make beauty products, hand poured candles and ornaments.
And they get a few stings along the way.
"Stung tens of thousands of time," Mark said.
Gretchen Bee Ranch said they will keep helping the bee population in south Texas while providing the rawest products out there.
(© 2017 KENS)