Spencer and Helene Marshall, along with 5 full-time and 5 part-time workers.
The hives are placed in backyards, farms, and wild areas throughout the greater Bay Area. Hives are moved to almond, orange, sage, star thistle, alfalfa, clover, eucalyptus, and pumpkin fields seasonally for pollination and honey production. Their newest location is on a rooftop garden adjacent to California Street at the Fairmont Hotel. It’s approximately 49 miles from the Marshall’s honey house in American Canyon to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Spencer was born into a farming family. At one point, his family needed him to run the harvesting operations at the Acampo ranch and care for his seriously injured father. While doing so, Spencer started a few beehives. Through trial and error, Spencer learned about the fine art of beekeeping. Eventually the bees became an obsession for him. Although he had bees in the Central Valley, he started hives in Marin County. He met his wife, Helene (a SF native), in 1990 and two years later they started Marshall’s Farm Natural Honey. Their honey is minimally processed, unfiltered, unheated, raw, and kosher. The honey is harvested after each bloom and then isolated to create unique varieties and colors. In addition to producing honey, the Marshalls offer honey tastings and tours of their facility.
None. Some hives are not treated for varroa mite and are registered organic with the state of California. As of this writing, no national standards for honey have been established.
All honey is bottled at Marshall’s Honey House in American Canyon. Marshall Farm honey is raw, unheated, and unfiltered. No heat whatsoever is used in the extraction of the honey, and the honey never rises above the temperature of the hive.
The Marshalls practice “survival of the fittest” and use nothing to manage pests (no pesticides). Spencer breeds queens from the strongest hives. He believes that strong genetic traits have been the reason the Marshalls’ hives have prospered in troubled times.
There are Marshalls hives at Domain Chandon in Napa and on a terrace adjacent to the Fairmont Hotel’s lobby in San Francisco.
American Canyon, California
Listen and Learn
On G. L. Alfieri Farms stands a building constructed during the California Gold Rush that served as a stagecoach stop. The site was also home to the first schoolhouse in San Joaquin County.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »