Through the company’s “urban pollination” service, owner Corky Luster is giving locals the opportunity to have hives at their very own homes without the hassle of taking care of the steps in the honey harvesting process.
“It’s like having a lawn service, but with bees. You can sit back and enjoy the bees, and we will take care of them,” Luster told Chris Hardman from Civil Eats.
Locals who take advantage of the “urban pollination” service receive two 12-ounce jars of honey per month during the six-month honey season. Luster and his team then upkeep the hives during the winter months to ensure that they survive.
According to the report, Luster hopes to connect customers with what they eat and the natural world through his service. “By [giving people] bees, you bring them into the fold, and they become part of the food system,” Luster told Civil Eats.
In addition to managing neighborhood hives, he consults with local chefs and sells honey and beekeeping supplies. He even assisted Bastille owner Jason Stoneburner set up a rooftop apiary on Ballard Ave.
Stoneburner’s apiary has definitely succeeded with Luster’s help, and after having to rely on Ballard Bees services for three years, the Bastille team is now caring for their own hives independently. The honey harvested from the rooftop apiary is being used in desserts, vinaigrettes, and even in Bastille’s popular cocktail aptly dubbed “The Bee’s Knees”.
Luster also started the “apiary partnership program” service for restaurants last year. Through this program local restaurants and chefs have the opportunity to buy bee hives that are managed by Luster and his team for a small fee. The restaurant then receives all of the honey produced by the hives. Ballard’s Walrus and the Carpenter is among the group of local establishments that are now part of the program.
According to the report, at this stage, the majority of Ballard Bee’s income comprises of revenue from honey sales. To produce the volume of honey needed, Luster owns an additional 130 hives housed about 45 minutes from Seattle at Local Roots Farm and Camp Korey.
Luster is also committed to educating locals about the importance of bees and encouraging new beekeepers. “People are amazed that honey bees are extremely gentle. They’re teddy bears,” Luster told Civil Eats.
To learn more about Ballard Bee Company or to find out how to sign up for one of their services click here.
Photo courtesy of Civil Eats.