The Beez Kneez delivers Minnesota honey to your door--by bike
If you happen to see a giant bee riding a bicycle through Minneapolis, it may not necessarily be a hypothermia-induced hallucination. It could just be the owner of the Beez Kneez making her weekly deliveries of honey to her customers.
Kristy Lynn Allen's uncle is a beekeeper in northern Minnesota, and Allen has been an avid cyclist for five or six years in Minneapolis. So when her uncle asked her if she wanted to sell some of his honey in the Cities, it seemed natural to combine the two. The bee costume was a way to create a little buzz for the company.
"I try to dress up like a bee as much as I can," Allen says. "I think it's good marketing."
The novelty has definitely created word of mouth. Allen started delivering honey on Halloween, and she estimates she has had 50 or 60 customers since then. Most of them are coworkers and their friends from her job as a bartender at Barbette and Bryant-Lake Bowl, but she says she has also sold to Lucia's restaurant, BLB, and Red Stag.
All the Beez Kneez honey comes from Bar Bell Bee Ranch, her uncle's operation in Squaw Lake in the Chippewa National Forest. Her uncle's 800 hives produced an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 pounds of honey last year.
Courtesy of TheBeezKneezDelivery.com
The honey Allen sells is all raw, unprocessed, and "creamed" (crystallized).
"Honey will naturally crystallize over time," Allen explains. "My uncle will take seed crystals from a barrel that has crystallized and add it to another barrel to try to reproduce it." The creamed honey, she says, has "a butter consistency, so you can spread it. I like it for its versatility as far as you can put in on bread, you can bake with it. It's not as messy."
Beez Kneez honey comes in two varieties. "We're focusing on clover/basswood," Allen says. "The majority of the trees up here are basswood, and they produce a white, kind of minty honey."
The other variety is buckwheat, which Allen says producers a dark honey with a molasses-like flavor and is supposedly the most healthful honey, high in antioxidants.
Beez Kneez honey sells in 12-ounce jars for $6 (clover/basswood) and $7 (buckwheat) and 36-ounce jars for $15 and $18.
Allen bikes orders to her customers on Sunday and Monday on her custom-painted, black-and-yellow-striped wheels, even in the dead of winter. "When it gets to be past negative 10, biking becomes a bit uncomfortable," she says. "But I'm pretty well dressed. I don't mess around."
The personalized service is part of her business plan. "I love the concept of bicycle-delivered things," Allen says. "I think people really enjoy having things delivered to their door. There's a really good community in Minneapolis for it."
Allen's commitment to honey goes beyond her new business. "I aspire to be a beekeeper and farmer some day," she says. Last year she started working on her uncle's ranch, extracting honey and learning the trade. She has also worked with bees during volunteer stints in Arkansas and Ecuador and hopes to get a part-time job on a farm this summer.
To order honey from Allen:
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