Though we only produce honey, Local Hive was founded to help fix an industry-wide problem. We aim to return food to its roots, where authentic, transparently produced foods are the norm, and buying food supports the people who grew it: in our case, beekeepers.
During a recent interview, Local Hive CEO Tony Landretti shared some of his experiences working with local beekeepers to help show what makes Local Hive’s approach so different and so critical.
“Old-school, face-to-face interaction is essential to beekeeping. It’s good for everyone, including the consumer. But over the last 40 years in the food industry, we’ve lost that to processing and manufacturing efficiency. We don’t look at where our food is coming from anymore. You lose a lot when you chase efficiency.
I was negotiating with a beekeeper one time. We talked, shook hands, and left – no contract. These beekeepers want to know who they’re doing business with, and to prove your credibility the old-fashioned way. They want to be able to trust you.”
But local honey isn’t just a matter of who beekeepers do business with. There are ripple effects in the towns where these beekeepers live and work, benefitting everyone around them:
“During the summer, beekeepers put their beehives out, often near small towns, and bring in workers to manage them. Suddenly, there’s a local economy in these towns with 300-something people. They’re going to 4H and grocery stores, buying cattle from auctions, you just don’t see that anymore. Historically, beekeepers would barter jugs of honey with cattle ranchers trading sides of beef. You can’t see that by looking at a bottle on the shelf, but that’s the kind of impact local honey makes.”
(Learn more about local honey’s impact at our American Beekeepers page.)
There are tangible differences with local honey, like flavor and color, but it also has a deeper significance: it shows us how we can work together with each other, with our land and with our pollinators. So, while we’re just one honey company, we recognize the power that honey has to connect us for the greater good. As Tony put it: “Right now, we all need that connection.”