Theo + Ballard Bee Company

16 July 2014 Cassandra Lea

Theo just got a little sweeter with help from our friends at Ballard Bee Company. We’ve been using their delicious local honey in our Honey Saffron caramels and ganache since late January, and our relationship has now grown to include our very own Theo hives! Corky Luster, founder and owner of Ballard Bee Company, describes his business as an “urban pollination company” that happens to produce some of the best honey around. Sales of the honey support Ballard Bee Company’s growing hive program and expansion of the apiary throughout the Seattle area. Corky continues to educate the Seattle community and beyond about food systems through the opportunity to participate in the Ballard Bee apiary program. 

Back in May, our team headed to Carnation, Washington to help Corky release bees into Theo-supported hives. Weather patterns have changed over the past few years, with warmer springs yielding early blooms. This year was no exception, and Corky was concerned that forage sources were producing nectar before the colonies were at their peak. You need a big force of bees to properly harvest nectar and an early bloom can compromise the strength of the colonies. Corky compared this to the cooking process, where a nice slow simmer is better than a quick scald.

Last week, we had the chance to visit Corky and check in on the progress of the bees. In spite of a warm spring with an early blackberry flow that could potentially hinder production, our bees appear to be thriving! We suited up and explored the hives with the bee whisperer himself by our side.

Standing among the hives is both calming and thrilling. A hive will often house over 40,000 bees, with the queen laying around 2,000 eggs per day. Corky explained that he can tell where bees are foraging nectar from by noting the color of the pollen on their legs (blackberry, for example, is putty brown). After spending a little time with the bees, it’s easy to see why interest in backyard beekeeping has spiked over the past few years. Corky offers starter kits for budding beekeepers as well as educational workshops and home consults. For folks who want to help pollinate their neighborhoods but aren’t sure if beekeeping is right for them, Ballard Bee Company also offers a hive hosting program. Many local Seattle businesses are getting in on the action, with restaurants like Bastille and chefs like Tom Douglas both sponsoring and hosting hives. Theo is thrilled to be working with Corky and we can’t wait to share updates as this partnership progresses.

To celebrate our collaboration with Ballard Bee Company, we’re giving away an Artisan Caramel Collection, tote bag, and, of course, honey! To enter, simply visit our Facebook page and share your info. We’ll choose one lucky winner on Thursday, July 24th.

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