My friend (and coworker) is a beekeeper! How cool is that? I’m so intrigued by the process that I asked about the business she runs with her mom, Susan because (a) it’s local and I’m all about supporting local businesses, (b) I have started substituting honey in place of sugar when baking, (c) I’m trying to combat seasonal allergies, and (d) she’s like a superhero (teacher by day and bee goddess at night). I’ve been buying Let it Bee honey exclusively for the last year and have shouted its goodness from the rooftops; I think it’s time for a blog post! Enjoy our fun, yet super informative discussion below!
- Bees? Why in the world?
The short version is I helped a friend harvest honey from her farm and fell in love with the process. When I moved back to Cincinnati, I wanted to continue the hobby with my mother, who is an avid gardener.
The long, romanticized version includes me finding a home away from home in central Kentucky and driving down a gravel road before sunrise with biscuits in the passenger seat. A good friend of mine, Denise, was not only my work mentor, but also someone who guided me through the trials and tribulations of a young woman alone in a new city. Therefore, practicing beekeeping not only allows me to meet new people and practice a craft I love, but also provides a daily reminder of Denise’s positive impact on my life.
- I’ve never been a honey person, but you’ve reformed me! Why is your honey so delicious?
Well, thank you! We pride ourselves in producing treatment-free, small batch honey. We bottle honey how we believe it should be enjoyed– raw with minimal filtering. We never medicate our bees or heat our honey, which can lessen its nutritional value. What’s amazing is that honey tastes different from year to year, season to season. It’s all dependent on what flowers are blooming nearby, hence local honey’s benefit of decreasing allergies.
I can’t emphasize enough that raw honey is the only kind people should purchase. The $2.99 bear at the grocery store may seem enticing, but most store honey is imported from China. In fact, studies have found that 76% of this type can’t even be traced back to bees!
- What has surprised you about beekeeping?
Even though this is our third year having bees, I feel like I’m surprised on a daily basis! Every time I open the hives I learn something new. I’m also shocked by the overwhelming response from friends, coworkers, and the community. I try not to bore people with bee talk, but I often get requests for more of it!
- Do beekeepers get stung?
Definitely. The suit and veil are helpful, but not impenetrable. When a bee senses danger, it signals for other bees to attack. It can be really scary if you’re unprepared! You have to remember that bees are like people– each hive has its own personality.
- I’m fascinated with hives and the role of Queen Bee. How does one go about becoming Queen Bee?
Fortunately for them, it’s not a drawn-out voting process with repetitive television ads. Special food, called royal jelly, transforms a baby bee into the queen, who looks totally different from the rest of the workers. Interestingly enough, the colony can rebel against the queen if they don’t like her. They’ll actually surround and suffocate her to death– pretty ruthless!
- What are your favorite ways to use honey?
It’s not uncommon to find me with a spoon in the honey jar! The obvious answers are in tea or drizzled over biscuits, although honey is also great for the skin and hair. During humid Cincinnati summers when I don’t want anything heavy to eat, I top Greek yogurt or crepes with sliced peaches and honey. Perfection!
- Tell me about your new flavors!
We’ve worked on infusing our regular honey to create three new flavors: Cinnamon, Bourbon, and Jalapeno. Cinnamon is the most popular because it can be eaten with just about anything, but a close second is Bourbon (hello, mixed drinks). Jalapeno Honey is served best, in my opinion, with fried chicken.
- Where can people find you?
We are thrilled to be partnering with the Mt. Washington Farmers Market this season. Our booth will be set up at Stanbery Park, 9am-12pm, on Saturday, June 10. Please stop by and say hello!
We also take orders by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to follow us @letitbeecincy on Instagram and Facebook; you’ll not only be the first to know about our latest offers and selling dates, but also see some crazy bee photos from our apiaries!
GIVEAWAY: Readers! Enter to win a FREE HONEY SAMPLER (regular, cinnamon, and bourbon with a honey stick) from Let it Bee by (1) liking both of our facebook pages (here and here) and (2) following us on instagram (here and here). Double your chances of winning by doing both! You can also check out Instagram for another entry! Winner announced Wednesday, June 14th!
GO THERE (Let it Bee on FB and Insta)! TRY THAT (Locally harvested honey)!