Seattle Urban Honey started in 2008 with two hives in the backyard of our Seattle home. We finished that first summer with more honey than we could use so we began selling honey at a neighborhood farmers’ market.
The business grew quickly as a few friends and neighbors asked us to put hives in their yards. Currently we have hives in several Seattle yards, at the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington and in two rural locations in the Snoqualmie Valley east of Seattle.
Urban honey has a wonderful complexity of flavor because of the multiple floral sources visited by the bees.
Our honey is raw meaning that it is not processed by heating so that it retains the delicate, flavorful volatiles in the honey.
Most of our honey is sold by date of harvest and the zip code of the hive location as honey flavors vary from location to location and with the time of the summer.
Continuing to take care of all the established hives, we began to cultivate several hives to our locations that were thriving. Our number of healthy hives grew to 40. In addition to harvested honey, we began creating new products out of the plentiful beeswax: Lip Balm, Lotion Bars, and Moustache Wax, among others.
In 2014, we grew to almost 60 hives. We added a new apiary near Preston, Washington and also added some hives at current locations in north Seattle. Our urban hives produced very well this year benefiting from good weather and good bee genetics. We participated in two farmers’ markets: Phinney Farmers Market and University District Farmers Market. Our honey sold out just before Christmas.
Our first challenge is to get the bees through the winter. Hives often make it to February or March only to die just as they try to build up numbers for the spring.