Robin Fontaine and Alison Landry can tell by the buzzing.
If there’s a happy little hum, their beehives are OK. As soon as the buzzzzz grows more aggressive, it’s a sign the bees are crowded or dealing with invasive bugs. “You kind of know when a hive is not right,” Fontaine says. “We are one with the bees.”
Fontaine, 61, and Landry, 35, have been beekeeping for about five years. The mother-daughter duo might have 300,000 to 500,000 bees combined in their Port Allen backyards on any given day.
Inside their home kitchens, the women prepare natural beauty products, raw honey and food wraps all made from the bees’ byproducts. They sell their Bee Pure Apiary goods on their website and around town at Red Stick Spice Co., MJ’s Cafe, Season to Taste and the Mid City Makers and Baton Rouge Arts markets.
Their food wraps will likely be especially popular during the dinner party-filled holiday season. Landry hand-coats printed 100% cotton fabric in beeswax, pine tree resin and natural oils. The materials make the wraps antibacterial, antifungal and impermeable. “It helps keep food fresh in and of itself way better than plastic would,” Landry says.
The waterproof wraps can be used to seal lunches and snacks and to cover bowls and containers—making them perfect for transporting goods to a Thanksgiving potluck or for preserving leftovers after the feast.