Kristy Lynn Allen
THE STORY OF A LOVESICK BEEKEEPER
I will never forget my first date with honey bees. It was in August of 2009 at my aunt and uncle’s bee ranch. My uncle took me out to check some of his apiaries. The minute he cracked that first hive, the sweet smell of nectar, wax and smoke filled my nostrils, millions of little fuzzy bodies were flying above my head, thousands of workers moving strong among the frames and I had my first taste of real, raw basswood honey. It is cliche to say, but I fell in love. I could not get enough. The way they communicate by dancing, how the hive functions as a superorganism, the fact that all the workers are female, that they collaborate extremely well to do incredible things, that they help flowers reproduce and make honey…what is not to love? The more I learned the more I wanted. I was love sick for honey bees.
After spending nine months abroad, my funds were low and I needed to come home. Excited to absorb anything and everything about bees and agriculture, I returned to Minnesota, got a seasonal job on an organic vegetable farm and spent another August at my family’s Bar Bell Bee Ranch. That was when my Aunt asked me a question: “Kristy, how would you like to sell our honey in Minneapolis?” “Sure!” I replied, idea wheels instantly spinning. Pedal power turned the light bulb on. Since the mid 2000’s, I had been commuting by bicycle year round. What if I delivered honey on my bicycle? I could paint my bike like a bee, dress up like one on Halloween, and hand out honey samples with my business card. And so without thinking much more about it, that is what I did. On October 31st, 2010 I started my business combining a love for bees and bikes. The Beez Kneez, a pedal-powered honey delivery business with a “bee-cyclist” bringing honey to your home or business dressed like a bee. I built a bike trailer, designed my own honey label and started my first hives. As it grew, all the profits went back into the business so I could quit my other jobs, grow and manage my own bees and produce my own honey.