The shop is run by mother-daughter dynamic duo, Mary and Caneen Canning. Caneen, studied at RISD, and is the creative mastermind bee-hind the shop's artistic ambiance and logo designs. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mary, Founder & CEO, to chat about her incredible organization and life in general, over a cup of tea. She is so warm, welcoming and wise. I immediately felt a kindred spirit connection with her. A "natural earth mother" of sorts.
Former journalist and indie documentary filmmaker (UM, COOL), Mary's aim has always been to tell the "stories beneath the surface." After a few years fraught with upheaval and the loss of her husband, Mary discovered the healing power of bees. She started tending her own apiaries on 18 acres of land in Warwick, Massachusetts. Fun Fact: The hives are named after Game of Thrones. Khaleesi is currently kicking butt (naturally!)
^ I love that :)
After the remnants of our tea turned cold, we wandered over to the shop, where Mary showed me the beehive kept on the back Nectar Deck. It's a cool spot (complete with exposed brick, twinkle lights and vintage mirrors) where shop-goers can witness the bees buzzing around in action and locals can host get-togethers.
The shop is a comfortable place to just bee yourself, outside of Harvard's ivy towers. It's a cozy, inclusive nook filled with interesting people and whimsical charm. It's almost like its own beehive the way it pulses with energy and people buzz in and out.
One of the (many) things I love is their raw honey tasting bar. You can try an array of honey varieties that have been foraged by bees from all over the world. They have over 100 different kinds of honey from around the globe; each one with their own distinct taste and story behind it. My recent favs have been the White Gold from Canada and the Caledonian Spirits from Vermont. They also boast a rotation of honeys on tap (depending on availability from local beekeepers) that they'll bottle up for you in a cute little mason jar.
I never realized how many different kinds of honey there are before stepping foot inside the shop. Honey harvesting varies from region to region and season to season (much like wine). The nectar flow from flowers can also change the taste in the belly of the bee.
In addition to advocating on behalf of local farmers and beekeepers, Mary and Caneen travel the world to find honey from places as far away as Africa, Mexico, Zambia and beyond. They are currently working with the Tanzanian government to bring premium asali (Swahili for honey) pollinated by the indigenous nyuki (Swahili for bee) to the United States. Honey from Tanzania is cultivated from baobab, miambo, mango, sunflower, itigi thicket, acacia, & other varieties in remote areas of African forage. By fostering sustainability, it's a win-win for communities around the world and gives local consumers the chance to taste flavors that they would never get to otherwise; making the global, local. Hip Hip Hooray!
Bee in the Know // fun facts
- Honey has long been known for its healing properties (formal term: apitherapy) which includes curing wounds, replenishing energy, boosting the immune system and also considered to have a calming effect on the mind.
- 2 million flowers + 1,125 bees = 1 lb honey
- To produce 2 lbs of honey, a bee must travel a distance = to 4x around the earth!
- A Honeybee Colony = 65,000 Bees + 1 Queen :
- 1 Queen Bee (the Beyoncé of the hive)
- 55,000 Worker Bees (all female...girl powa!)
- 10,000 Drones (all male...seems about right ;) juuust kidding!
RAW UNTREATED VS. SUPERMARKET HONEY
- Raw Honey hasn't been heated to more than 120 degrees so it retains its natural enzymes, amino acids and minerals
- Supermarket Honey has been heated which makes it look clearer (and often more viscous) but it loses all of those delicious nutrients!