We are Sarasota Honey Company!
Sarasota Honey Company is a family owned and community-driven Apiary Company. We have a special commitment to the special needs community and believe that everyone has intrinsic value and the right to success, knowledge, inclusion, self-determination, and equality. We are proud that many of our products are made by and benefit people with special needs and promote honey bee awareness through programs offered by Sarasota Honey Co. and community partners that share our mission. It is our ultimate vision to be able to grow our company where we can acquire a larger space to offer more classes in core academics, life skills, and employment skills for local people with special needs with the honey business as means to support the vision.
What makes us different from other apiary companies?
Environmentally Responsible: Most commercial honey businesses have a few “bee-yards” in select areas with 60 plus bee colonies. Due to the massive size of these bee yards they are often in rural areas. Additionally, most apiary companies will have one harvest at a time and just mix all their honey in one batch no matter the location or quality of the honey product. During times of low nectar source, some apiaries feed their bees high fructose corn syrup to keep costs down; it’s the equivalent of cheap fast food. We have many bee yards with fewer colonies, often no more than 3 –16 colonies. We find that bees thrive better in urban areas rather than rural areas where bees can be exposed to mono-crops and their pesticides. Our honey comes from the heart of Sarasota and Manatee County… from your neighbor’s backyard or local farms that practice organic principles. This creates a wonderful environment for the bees and a lush and fruitful environment for our urban communities through honey bee pollination. If we ever do need to feed, we either feed our bees honey, or sugar water with vitamins, enzymes, and amino acids.
Socially Responsible: We are committed to the disabilities community. Our honey is harvested, bottled, and labeled by people with special needs in our job and social skills training program. Additionally, we provide independent living and employment training beyond beekeeping to transitioning youth with special needs. We cover tuition to University of Florida’s Bee College for our special needs beekeepers, one of which won a state beekeeping 4 H contest this year! We are also an active sponsor to the Annual Special Needs Prom, donate honey to be sold at 100% profit to local non-for-profits serving people with special needs, and serve on the governing board of the Sarasota’s Suncoast Beekeepers Association.
Premium Artisan Products: We don’t see our products as a commodity. We realize we are producing food, and with that comes a great sense of responsibility to the people that are putting our products on their table to feed their families. We are constantly asking ourselves, “How can we make it better… from the bee to the consumer?” Due to the fact that our hives are located in urban areas, and our work with the special needs community, we can’t “cut corners”. If anything, we add corners to make it possible to have bees in urban areas, provide the absolute best care for our bees, and we often need to think outside the box to provide employment to a person with special needs through special training. The end result is a premium and truly artisan honey product. Every location will produce its own distinct honey flavor that can change with every season. As a beekeeper tasting the difference in honey from one location to another is an amazing experience. We want the community to taste the joy of the beekeeper which is why we don’t blend from one major location to another or pasteurize our honey. To taste our product is to experience honey and reap of all its health benefits as nature intended!