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Meet the 97-Year Old Honey Man Who Is Quite Possibly L.A.'s Oldest Beekeeper

via LA Taco

Everybody knows the Honey Man. Victor Jaramillo Soriano has been selling jars of honey, bee pollen, and royal jelly outside his home in El Sereno for 46 years. At 97, he is quite possibly the oldest beekeeper in L.A. and keeps alive a tradition that has been in his family for over 300 years. Growing up in Tepetongo, a small town in southwest Zacatecas, Soriano started working with bees when he was three years old.

​“My first job was to ring a little bell when they started to swarm,” Soriano said of his childhood. “When the hives get too big, the colonies leave in droves, and we’d catch them and put them in bee boxes to start a new colony.”

​​Soriano came to the U.S. in 1943 as a Bracero, a program that allowed Mexican citizens to take temporary agriculture work in the U.S. He harvested apples, oranges, pears, apricots, and peaches in Chico and other parts of Central California. In 1946, he moved to Lincoln Heights and eventually met up with his brother in El Sereno. He purchased cheap plots of land in the area, including one dotted with nopales that watched over Our Lady of Guadalupe Church like La Virgin herself. During this time, the same time when you can ride a red car trolley down Huntington Drive to downtown L.A. for five cents, Soriano birthed his bee yards. Though legalized in 2015, Soriano still has many secret spots in the neighborhood where he keeps bees, his front yard being the most accessible.

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