There’s a buzzing in the air—the sounds of spring, perchance? Actually, this buzz is all about Biggie Bee Farm, a local agricultural endeavor that offers up sweet Louisiana honey. What began as a father-son hobby has since flourished into a full-time business.
“I graduated from LSU in geology in 2009 and went to work,” says owner David Wilkinson. “Around 2014, I ordered my first two hives while I was still a geologist. I really liked the hobby, so then two turned into four and four turned into eight. Around 2016, I was no longer with the consulting firm as a geologist, and I turned to the bee business full-time with my father.”
Louisiana’s climate turns out to be perfect for harvesting honey and beeswax, with Wilkinson taking part in every step of the process, from building new hives, to harvesting, bottling and selling products at markets like the Red Stick Farmers Market downtown. Wilkinson’s all-natural approach, with raw honey going from the hive frames into two stainless steel sieves before being transferred to bottles, also means that the product is just about as fresh as it gets.
“I find it a lot easier down here due to the simple fact that we have more of a subtropical climate,” Wilkinson says. “We tend to have a lot more wildflowers and ditch flowers. The bloom season stays a little longer because of our temperatures and we don’t usually get those cold freezes, so my bees normally winter very well and I don’t come out with too many losses.”
“We are in the stage now where we have so much honey to harvest throughout the year that we can focus on other products,” he says. “We use the wax for lip balm and hand creams. I’ll even sell little blocks of beeswax. I saw lots of people on Etsy or Pinterest wanting to make candles or their own soaps, so I’ll melt the wax down and keep it as unrefined as possible.”
Turning down a supermarket aisle, you’re bound to be met with a variety of options for honey, but Biggie Bee Farm stands out.
“We take a natural approach to our hives,” Wilkinson says. “It’s pretty much as raw as you can get, and anything the bees bring in from the hives is what gets put in there.”