By James Herrera, Monterey Herald
Pacific Grove >> Beehives from the Carmel Honey Co. will be arriving at a sister property of The Beach House at Lovers Point soon and the nectar from the apiary will be used in creative cocktails and menu items from Executive Chef Matthew Farmer.
The honey company’s owner and chief beekeeper is 14-year-old entrepreneur, Jake Reisdorf, a young man who has been in the news since winning the $10,000 grand prize in the CSU Monterey Bay Startup Challenge in May, as well as receiving national recognition by the Score Foundation, which named him Outstanding Young Entrepreneur Small Business.
Reisdorf has been in business since he was 11, after being inspired through a school project about bees.
“Business is doing good,” said Reisdorf on Tuesday. “We’re keeping the bees going through the winter … checking on them and making sure they’re doing OK.”
Reisdorf said the rains over the past few weeks are good and bad for the little honey producers. It brings a multitude of foraging opportunities come sunny weather, but in the meantime the bees just have “to hunker down and wait it out.”
He said he maintains the hives and makes sure the inhabitants are healthy, including supplementing them with bee pollen, vitamins and nutrients.
Reisdorf recently attended a conference of the American Beekeepers Federation, where a main topic was the more than 45 percent loss in bee population, the scientific race to pinpoint causes and find solutions to the crisis, including working with the agriculture industry on pesticide use.
The small businessman provides hives and their maintenance service for people interested in providing space on their property for honey production and its byproducts.
Reisdorf said his honey venture, which he runs with the help of his mother, father and sister, has been growing every year.
The hives that will be part of The Beach House’s honey production will be placed in April when the weather is better.
“The best location for the hives is on the roof at the Big Fish Grill at the end of Fisherman’s Wharf,” said Kevin Phillips, co-owner of The Beach House. “It’s a large, secure, flat roof there and the bees can forage up to five miles away.”
According to Reisdorf, the two businesses’ symbiotic relationship started when he made a cold call to The Beach House on a busy night, spoke with the chef and left his card. But Phillips was in the house that night too, saw the exchange and caught up with the young honey baron. After a short discussion, Phillips asked Reisdorf to return later to talk further.
“I came to know Jake and his company and use his products at our Lovers Point Beach Cafe,” said Phillips. “I really like what he’s doing … in helping bees, which are on the decline, and are so central to producing agriculture … I love the idea.”
The cafe, located below The Beach House restaurant with views of Lovers Point Beach, has been using and selling Carmel Honey Co. products since opening in November.
Phillips has put his honey were his mouth is by coming up with an event that will introduce Carmel honey-laden drinks and dishes to diners, as well as giving Reisdorf an opportunity to talk about and educate patrons about bees, honey and apiology.
The Beach House will hold its first Bee Education Dinner on March 16. Space is limited to 40 attendees and the cost is $69 inclusive, per person. RSVP to the Beach House at 831-375-2345.
Diners will be able to meet Reisdorf while sipping honey-infused Bee Sting Cocktails and nibbling on appetizers made with honey, and guests will also receive Carmel Honey Sticks, as well as a honey recipe from Reisdorf, to take home.
Phillips said after the Bee Education Dinner event in March, the menu will include the new, honey-themed items on an ongoing basis. Phillips’ son Jeremy, who is also general manager, has worked with chef Farmer to create the recipes and will help put together the March event.
“I’m excited about it,” said Reisdorf. The honey company owner said he can not wait to see the fabulous things Chef Matthew comes up with.
Carmel Honey Co. will supply and maintain the two hives for The Beach House, and the restaurant and cafe will use the honey and honeycomb in their offerings.
James Herrera can be reached at 831-726-4344.