Our Story - in a Timeline
The Holton Homestead was accidentally founded in 2015 when we moved to our small acreage in Elkhart. Immediately, we wanted fruit trees, a garden, animals, and bees. We had a small flock of chickens that produced more eggs than we knew what to do with. We started selling eggs. Eventually, this led to our Ankeny egg route, delivering eggs to 40+ families weekly. Word quickly spread, and we had more customers than products to sell.
In the spring of 2016, we prepared to be first-time vendors at the Ankeny Farmers Market. Neither of us had ever been to a farmers market and had no idea what we were doing as vendors. The first year, we didn’t have much to offer but fell in love with the customer interaction and support from our community. This was the gateway to our new lifestyle.
In 2017, we sent our bees to California for the first time. They spend the winter months participating in almond pollination. Over the years, the Homestead has ventured in many different directions, including managing a 26-acre apple orchard, raising and breeding pasture pigs, raising and processing poultry, market gardening, cast iron cookware restoration, natural remedies, and keeping bees. Amidst all these activities, we were able to narrow down to what we were most passionate about. Today our focus is beekeeping, honey, market gardening, natural wholesome products, and vintage cast iron cookware.
In 2018, Tyler connected with a bee broker located in California, and he took a leap of faith in accepting a seasonal job position. From January through April, Tyler manages beekeepers’ hives from all over the country for almond pollination. Tyler loved this position so much he continues to work in California every season.
In 2019, Tyler coordinated with local beekeepers to send a semi-load of bees for pollination. We obtained our food processing plant license for producing flavored creamed honey and Elderberry tonic.
In 2020, we accomplished big goals. We got multiple employees on the payroll, a small retail store on our farm, and you can find our products in numerous retail locations throughout central Iowa.
2021 was such a blur. Our team grew, consisting of six employees, Tyler, & Sara. We sold nucs for the first time and started raising queen bees to sell. We have a bountiful market garden and were present weekly at five farmers markets in the area. We also grew our retail accounts to over 40 local stores across Iowa. Another huge accomplishment was Sara leaving her part time jobs and working (with pay) full time running the Homestead.
2022 is turning out to be something completely different than we had planned for. In fact, our most challenging year yet. Our team shrunk substantially and there are new faces. We are pursuing new wholesale locations and are in over 60 locations across Iowa now. We have even been shipping to other countries, like Canada and the United Kingdom. We are looking forward to what the end of the year brings for us!
Our promise to you: Our products will always be made in house, by hand, by us. We will never outsource and we will never skimp on quality.
Meet The Team
Hi, I’m Tyler. You might know me as the Beekeeper. Sara and I started The Holton Homestead in 2015. Back in 2018, I took a leap of faith to go to California for the winter and work as a broker connecting beekeepers from all over the United States to almond growers. I enjoy beekeeping because it keeps me on my toes and I am always learning.
Hi, I’m Sara. You may not know this, but I am a third-generation beekeeper. My dad and grandpa Todd kept bees together in the ’80s. Marketing has always been a passion of mine, but I never thought I’d be marketing our business. I love working on our land and making amazing connections with all of our customers.
Hi, I'm Amy! I joined the team back in March '22. I LOVE ALL THE THINGS! My favorite honey is Hot Honey–its great on everything. I enjoy every job that comes along and, most of all, spending my days with Sarabean!
Hey Everyone, I am Talyla. I have been working for the homestead for over 4 years now. I love working markets and creating online content. The homestead is like a family to me, and I love everything about it. I am a senior in high school and do cross country and track. I hope to go into marine biology after high school.