Karen and Jim Belli have turned a curiosity into a compulsion. What began as a burgeoning interest in plants, pollination and bees has transformed into one of the nation’s most recognized and revered honey producers.

Belli Farm

HISTORY

Karen Belli, a retired Chicago Public School teacher, and her husband Jim, a Chicago architect, purchased a 45-acre dairy farm located 40 miles north of Chicago in 1989. They spent the next 12 years altering the landscape, creating a unique mix of flowering plants and trees that created an idyllic setting for bees. In 2001, they began placing beehives on their property. In 2003, their honey started winning Blue Ribbons at the Lake County Fair. They entered the Illinois State Fair in 2004 and won 2nd place competing against large, long established honey producers. In 2006, they took home three Blue Ribbons at the American Beekeeping Federation Convention in Louisville. Every year since, Belli Farm has been continually recognized and awarded for its exceptionally pure, flavorful honey.

Belli Farm

PRACTICES

Karen and Jim believe to be great honey makers, you first need to be great stewards of the land. They have spent over a quarter of a century modifying and improving their farm to offer up the most diverse and rich food supply for their bees. This includes altering the landscape with earth movers and burning dense areas of growth so seeds that have been in the ground for over a century can spring to life. It also means using only natural techniques, and they are proud to attest that no controversial systematic insecticides known as neonicontoids have ever touched their land, both before they took ownership and ever since.

This fanatical approach to land cultivation is also applied to honey production. Whether it’s using jars that are free of imperfections, to carefully straining straining the honey. Karen and Jim strive for a product that is no less than perfect, doing everything themselves to ensure the highest quality. The way they see it, the bees make a perfect product, so their number one goal is to keep it that way. It’s meticulousness you can see, in honey shades ranging from nearly colorless to dark brown. And it’ s obsessiveness you can taste, with unforgettable flavors ranging from subtle to bold.

LAKE COUNTY FAIR

GRAYSLAKE, ILLINOIS

49

First Premiums (Blue ribbons)

5

Champions

MORTON ARBORETUM HONEY SHOW

LISLE, ILLINOIS

2

First Place Awards

1

Best in Show

ILLINOIS STATE FAIR

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

66

First Premiums (Blue ribbons)

3

Grand Champions

9

Carl and Eugene Killion Trophy
Beekeeping & Honey Open Class Sweepstakes

HEARTLAND APICULTURAL SOCIETY HONEY SHOW

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

2

First Place Awards

AMERICAN BEEKEEPING FEDERATION

AMERICAN HONEY SHOW

32

First Premiums

3

Best in Show


Belli honey has competed against entries from Canada, Kuwait, Mexico and U.S. at the following honey show locations:

  • Louisville, KY
  • Austin, TX
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Reno, NV
  • Orlando, FL
  • Galveston, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Hershey, PA
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Anaheim, CA
  • Ponte Verde, FL