By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 07, 2002 at 5:55 AM

Located not much more than 10 miles north of downtown Oconomowoc, Honey Acres seems like an entirely different world. One of the country's premier honey producers, situated on 40 acres of rural land, also traces the history of beekeeping and honey production in the United States in its small, but charming and informative, Honey of a Museum.

With photos, paintings, copies of original patents and other documents, artifacts and live bees (!), the Honey of a Museum discusses bees and how they grow and reproduce and make honey, beekeeping around the world -- an exhibit that features a lovely piece of 19th century hand-painted Yugoslavian beekeeping equipment -- the history of Honey Acres (their honey bars have been carried to the South Pole and to the apex of Mount Everest as nutrition for adventurers!), beekeeping pioneers, the many uses of beeswax and more.

The company began in 1852 when C. F. Diehnelt arrived in Wisconsin from Rosswein, Germany, bringing along his love for, and skill at, beekeeping. In fact, one of the Honey Acres museum's most interesting exhibits is the recreation of his son August Diehnelt's beekeeping shed, which contains many of his original tools, handed down to his son Walter. The Diehnelt family-run company is now in its fifth generation.


Be sure to stop and look around the shop, which sells a wide range of honeys and honey-based products, most made in the adjoining factory, a tour which, sadly, is not part of the museum experience.

Among the treats, you'll find a range of honeys, from Orange Blossom to Buckwheat and beyond, produced at some of Wisconsin's 600 beehives. The honeys get their varied flavors depending on the plants from which the bees harvest pollen.

There are also chocolate covered honey mints, honey cremes, musards, confections and gift boxes. The shop also offers the opportunity to taste different kinds of honeys and to sample the line of rich and sweet honey cremes. Honey Acres products are kosher.

While you're there, take a stroll through the little nature walk, the entrance of which is at the far end of the visitor parking lot. The circle trail leads through pine stands planted by Boy Scouts and a small prairie with a lookout tower that at one time likely offered a commanding view of the area but now barely gets above the trees.

Honey Acres is located just north of Old Ashippun at N1157 Hwy. 67. For directions or other information, call (800) 558-7745. Visit Honey Acres on the Web at Honey of a Museum is open year 'round, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. From May 15-October 30, it is also open weekends from noon-4 p.m. Admission is free.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.