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Why The Metropolitan calls Great Lakes Bee Co. honey ‘delicious’ honey and beeswax candles a ‘rich experience’

 

The Metropolitan, a publication based in Detroit, featured Great Lakes Bee Company’s Hasselman’s Honey and beeswax candles in its June 2024 article, “What do you get by mixing, honey, hot sauce and fried chicken?”

Here’s why The Metropolitan’s staff called our honey “delicious” and the aroma and glow of our beeswax candles a “rich experience.”

The Metropolitan: What do you get by mixing, honey, hot sauce and fried chicken?

Hasselman’s Honey (and, beeswax candles) | Fremont, MI

Since 1974. 100% Local Western Michigan, Unprocessed, Raw & Unfiltered.

Last month, we sent contributing crack storyteller, Jamiel Dado to the west side of Michigan to see what he could dig up on the bee community and those products associated with what the Empire called, Apis mellifera. In his article, “Beeing There,” for The Metropolitan, Jamiel wrote about his journey to Kropscott Farm Environmental Center and observations and discussions from our bee class.

While his experience can be found in the previous link, we’d like to discuss a couple of the products coming out of Great Lakes Bee Company.

It says right on the bottle that Hasselman’s Honey comes straight from the hive, with all the benefits natural honey has to offer. While there is rigorous debate over the health benefits associated with honey – natural sugar vs processed, local honey vs global, etc. – those who keep bees are confident that locally produced, raw, unprocessed honey not only tastes great but provides a myriad of benefits to better living (myriad, a word I do not use in daily conversation but thought it worked given the previous Latin).

We spoon this robust honey on our homemade bread and toast, in our bowl of Whole Milk Greek Yogurt w/ berries, and stir it in our afternoon teas.

Delicious!

Had I been with Jamiel, I might have asked Hasselman what makes the flavor of their honey unique? What flowers contribute to its taste? Does Lake Michigan have anything to do with the end product? How do we safely and ethically support bee communities into producing their finest product? And, how should bees be compensated for their work?

But, alas, I was not there.

Apart from Hasselman’s Honey, we have also been writing by beeswax candlelight for the past 30 days and must say, it has produced a much richer experience – we enjoy the aroma and its soft, flickering, glow!

Hasselman’s small batch honey comes from the Western Shores of Michigan and is hand bottled in Fremont, Michigan, by the Great Lakes Bee Company.

 

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We MOVED! Come see us at our new location on Warner Avenue in Fremont

 

Have you heard the news … WE’VE MOVED!! We’re now located in the Old Rink Plaza, 5973 S. Warner Ave., just down the road from Fremont High School! We are currently only open for in-person shopping by appointment at this time until we get fully settled.

As always, we are open online 24/7 at www.GreatLakesBeeCo.com (Any orders placed online, can be picked up without having to make an appointment).

To schedule an appointment, email: info@greatlakesbeeco.com

Here’s a sneak peek inside our new space!

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Great Lakes Bee Company featured in The Metropolitan

 

Writer and gardner Jamiel Dado joined us for our second beekeeping class in March. In his article, “Beeing There,” for The Metropolitan, Jamiel wrote about his journey to Kropscott Farm Environmental Center and observations and discussions from our bee class.

In his article, Jamiel writes:

“Stefan (Braun) turned out to be a very affable teacher and made the time fly. He made it quite clear from the beginning that keeping bees would result in getting stung quite often. He said that he gets stung on average 50 times a year. He explained that although he wears the protective headgear, he doesn’t usually wear the gloves. I could imagine that they would be bulky and thus difficult to handle things. At this point, a retired doctor in the group informed the class that bee sting therapy was still widely used in the treatment of arthritis. So, I guess it’s a positive thing? It became clear during the presentation that many things the beekeeper does to the bees ends up making them angry, explaining the large amount of stinging involved. His main advice regarding the stinging was to get the stinger out as soon as possible.

One of the controversial aspects about beekeeping (and there are several) that I have come across is the notion that when you harvest honey from the hive, you essentially starve the bees during the winter. I was happy to learn during the course of the day that this is not the method of the responsible beekeeper. Each hive of bees needs between 60-100 pounds of honey to get through the winter. This is accomplished in the space of two supers filled with honeycombed nucs. Once these are filled, additional supers and nucs are placed on top and those are soon filled as well. Stefan asserts that bees are naturally overachievers and will produce much more honey than they need to get through the winter. On average, using this method will supply you with 50-100 pounds of excess honey to harvest per hive!

That’s a lot of honey!

Way to go bees!

One of the best pieces of advice that Stefan stressed on more than one occasion was to find a local bee club to find a mentor and resources. Most bee clubs will have important equipment needed to harvest honey and will usually share or rent it out to members.

If the idea of having a surplus of honey and a new hobby interests you, then I would recommend learning a thing or two from Stefan and the Great Lakes Bee Company. In addition to the classes, they sell bees to get you all set up. In fact, you can purchase nine frame “nucs” that will give you a head start on your honey production.”

Thank you, Jamiel, for joining us at our beekeeping class and writing a fun story about beekeeping!

Read Jamiel’s full article in The Metropolitan, here.

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Looking for a last-minute holiday gift? Why bees and beekeeping classes make great gifts for the holidays or any occasion

 

Great Lakes Bee Company Owner Genji Leclair and General Manager Stefan Braun talked with FOX 17 Morning Mix and WOOD TV8 about how bees can make the perfect last-minute holiday gift.

“Bees are fascinating,” Leclair told FOX 17. “They’re important and have such a contribution to farming, agriculture, our food supply and they’re fun to take care of.”

Braun, who admits to being fascinated by any “creepy crawlies,” told FOX 17: “Bees carry a special place for me. I’ve been around them since I was a little kid. Once I became an adult, I dove in head first and learned everything there is to know about bees and want to continue learning about them.”

Leclair shared that if you’re thinking about giving the gift of bees for any occasion, there are some things to take into consideration, Leclair and Braun said.

“To take care of a domesticated animal – that is the honey bee – that’s something that can’t be taken lightly,” said Braun. “It is a chore and it is a job – and I love doing it.”

“When giving bees as a gift you want to make sure the person you’re giving it to – it’s like giving a puppy or any kind of animal – that they’re up for the challenge and the long-term commitment,” said Leclair. “A lot people think bees, because they’re wild insects, you can put them in their hive and they’ll be okay. But that’s not the case. In choosing a gift like this for someone, you want to make sure that this is something that they’re up for and would be committed to.

“You also want to make sure that they’re not allergic to bees,” Leclair added. “Bees do sting and some people are allergic, so you want to take that into consideration as well. Other than that, there’s some ongoing costs. Just like taking a dog to the vet and getting those vaccines, there’s care for the hive as well because there are different things that can happen in the hive – you might have to replace your queen, you have to treat the hive for certain things. Other than that, it’s fascinating and it’s so fun and amazing to be in the bee world.”

Great Lakes Bee Co. also wants to help beekeepers – new and experienced – with their bees. They’re offering beekeeping classes on March 9 and March 23. Classes are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are $50. Online registration is open.

“It’s a beginner bee class that will tell people how to prepare their location for the bees, how to maintain their bees, what kind of elements to look for in their bees and, of course, the most important part, how to harvest their honey; and how to make it a relationship between the beekeeper and the hive,” said Braun.

“A lot of times when people want to start beekeeping, they don’t know exactly what they need to have to start beekeeping, so we thought it would be a good option to allow people to purchase their bees, their hives and all the accessories they’ll need to go with it,” Braun told WOOD TV8. “It’s really handy for newbie beekeepers to know what they need to start out.”

“When I moved to Michigan and started to get into bees, I had no idea where to start,” Leclair said during her interview with WOOD TV8. “I just knew I loved honey and wanted to do something great for the environment. A lot of people just don’t know a lot about the importance of bees, what they do for the environment, how they impact the local ecology around their areas, the agriculture and their own garden. Beekeeping is one way you can really support your local farmer or even your own local grower, and also get some honey.

“Having access to information and someone who can mentor and demonstrate what it’s like to interact with the bees, how to set up a bee hive, how to protect yourself when you’re working with bees and some of the ins and outs of beekeeping is a great way to start your adventure in beekeeping, and have a little confidence in going into getting your bees started,” she added.

What’s Leclair’s favorite part about bees: Honey

“We have local, raw, unfiltered, unprocessed honey – it’s so healthy for you and it tastes so good,” she said. “Anytime you can get local, raw unprocessed honey do it from your local beekeepers. In addition to that, the hive has a lot of great byproducts like beeswax, and honeycomb and infused honey.”

Honey bees, honey and bee products and swag are available on the Great Lakes Bee Co. website. Beekeeping equipment will be available for purchase on the website in January 2024.

Watch both segments here:

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Michigan Radio: ‘Bee-ing More Observant’ at Great Lakes Bee Co. Bee Pickup Event

Michigan Radio reporter Dustin Dwyer joined the Great Lakes Bee Co. for the second day of bee pickups this year to learn more about these buzzing pollinators and how they are helping the environment.

“When you get a nuc – a 9-frame nuc – you’re getting a regular hive box that you can use in your yard and they’re filled with bees,” Great Lakes Bee Company Owner Genji Leclair told Dwyer during the annual event. “There’s probably some honey in there, a queen, and baby bees being born – they’re so cute.”

The country’s agriculture depends on bees as farmers need them to pollinate crops, such as blueberries, apples, peaches, cherries, and almonds. Sarah Szymczyk and her family were among the many backyard beekeepers who attended GLBC’s annual spring bee pickup, bringing home thousands of bees inside their nuc.

“Our goal in life is to be sustainable living – being able to grow our own food and live in a space that we don’t depend on any other market and bees is the way to that,” she told Michigan Radio. “You have to have food and bees give you food.”

Listen to Michigan Radio’s full podcast about GLBC’s annual bee pickup: “Bee-ing More Observant.”

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Buzzing Bees: 2023 Bee Pick Up events a success

 

Bees from Great Lakes Bee Co. recently returned home to Michigan after pollinating almond crops in California and rebuilding of hives in Georgia. Hundreds of backyard and professional beekeepers from the Great Lakes region gathered to pick up their bees to add to their colonies during our annual Bee Pick-Up events on May 6 and 13 at Kropscott Farm in Fremont.


Now that GLBC bees have returned to Michigan, they forage on basswood, alfalfa, star thistle, and West Michigan flowers to create 150,000 pounds Michigan Honey. In addition to producing honey under the Hasselman brand, the bees are also hired to help pollinate various crops including: almonds (January); apricots, sweet cherries, peaches and plums (April); tart cherries, pears, blueberries and apples (May).


Over the course of GLBC’s two pick up days, beekeepers picked up a total of 1,128 bee nucs and packages. It was a wonderful turnout and we had so much fun talking with everyone who attended our pickups! We want to also thank you for bearing with us on our second day of pickups as we had a break down with one of our trucks, which caused a long delay. We truly appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.


A special shout out to our volunteer team and all of you, our patient beekeepers, who helped throughout the day.


Enjoy your bees! We hope you have a great bee season!

In the Media:

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Watch GLBC’s Genji Leclair make a Honey Bloody Mary on Good Day Northern Michigan

As the holiday season continues with parties and get-togethers with family and friends, Great Lakes Bee Co. Owner Genji Leclair shares how you can use honey to create a Honey Bloody Mary that’s packed with nutrients to kick any holiday hangovers or enjoy on National Bloody Mary Day, which happens to be Jan. 1, 2023 – New Year’s Day.

In a recent Good Day Northern Michigan on 9&10 News segment, Leclair also explained how honey could be considered a miracle food.

“Honey is a special sugar,” Leclair said during her live interview with GDNM on Dec. 16. “It’s very healthy for your body to absorb honey – there’s antimicrobial properties that create tryptophan (an essential amino acid that is necessary for making proteins) that help you calm down – and it’s quick to get to your brain.”

Leclair explained how a honey’s yellowy golden hue comes from the pollen on the plants the bees are foraging. For those living in West Michigan who are allergic to pollen, consuming trace amounts of the region’s honey helps build up immunity to the area’s pollen and will help with allergies.

“Bloody marys are on par with honey for me because they’re healthy and they solve a health problem: hangovers,” said Leclair. “When you have a hangover, blood sugar in your brain starts to deplete, which is what starts a hangover. It’s almost like inducing jet lag – you can’t sleep, you don’t feel good, and some people even get dizzy.”

In order to cure a hangover, you want to put nutrients back in your body, but the most important thing is putting sugar back in your brain, according to Leclair.

“A lot of people will do alcohol again because you’re literally putting sugar back in your system – and that’s where the alcohol comes in. If you’re not into alcohol, virgin bloody marys are a very healthy drink and by adding a honey to your bloody mary, you’re getting that sugar without the alcohol – but you can always double down and do it together.”

For the demonstration, Leclair used a dollop of Great Lakes Bee Co.’s infused Black Pepper Honey and mixed it in with her bloody mary concoction.

“I think this is the perfect thing to do for New Year’s Day because on New Year’s Eve, you’re out drinking all night and there’s a good chance you might not feel great on New Year’s morning,” said Leclair. “This is a perfect thing to put out for a New Year’s morning breakfast or brunch. But this is a very healthy drink – without the alcohol, of course – because you’re getting a lot of vitamins in your system.

“There’s a wide variety of bloody mary recipes, so go online and have some fun checking them out.”

How to make a Honey Bloody Mary

Start out with the basics:

  • Tomato juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Pepper
  • Alcohol (Vodka or Gin)

Add the Secret ingredient:

Spice it up with:

  • Horseradish
  • Hot sauce/Tobasco
  • Lemon juice

Salt the rim:

  • Lemon juice
  • Celery salt

Top it off with delicious skewered embellishments:

  • Cheeses
  • Meats
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Shrimp
  • Vegetables (tomatoes, celery, cucumber, celery)

Watch Genji Leclair’s full interview on Good Day Northern Michigan, here.

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Watch GLBC’s Genji Leclair make Habanero Honey Margarita and Healthy Honey Ball on Good Day Northern Michigan

 

In celebration of National Honey Month this September, Great Lakes Bee Co. Owner Genji Leclair recently shared her Habanero Honey Margarita and Healthy Honey Ball recipes on Good Day Northern Michigan on 9&10 News.

“Margaritas are basically just citrus and tequila, so you can get creative in how you make it,” Leclair told Good Day Northern Michigan hosts Sid Simone and David Lyden as she began mixing grapefruit, lime, lemon and orange juices with tequila. “What makes ours special is the habanero honey – it’s a great alternative to sugar.”

Great Lakes Bee Co. – producer of Hasselman’s Honey – was founded by Larry Hasselman in Newaygo in 1974. Leclair, who grew up on honey, took over for Hasselman when he retired eight years ago.

“I’m a honey person. When I moved to Newaygo, I popped into the local grocery store and bought the local honey. When I tasted the honey, I had to call Larry to find out why this honey was so good,” Leclair said during the live Good Day Northern Michigan segment. “From there I learned all about the honey.

“We do it exactly the same way as Larry’s done since 1974,” Leclair added. “We’ve changed nothing. It’s all delicately handled. We don’t overheat the honey at all – it’s raw right out of the hives and it’s very special because the microclimate in Newaygo is very unique with an unusual blend of flowers. We only collect and sell the honey from summer – and so you have this crazy good taste that’s different – very different. It’s just amazing honey out of Newaygo.”

For the Healthy Honey Ball
• Leclair recommends having a base, such as oats (grinded) and a nut butter – peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter.
• Then pick what you would want to mix in: cacao, turmeric, cinnamon, chocolate chips, cranberry, raisins, apricots, etc.
• Mix together – then add the secret ingredient: Honey
• Stir and roll it into a ball with your hands, then roll a topping like, coconut shavings or pecans or other nuts, over your ball and voila!

Charcuterie, Cheese or Fruit Board
• Add honey to enhance your charcuterie, cheese or fruit board flavors and pairings
• Blue cheese pairs well with honeycomb
• Goat cheese pairs well with lavender honey
• Leclair recommends playing around with different flavors of honey: pepper honey, habanero honey, etc.

“There are different flavors in the region depending on the floral sources,” said Leclair. “You can go to northern Michigan and you’ll get a lot of star thistle, which is a little bit lighter honey, and as you head down south, you get different types of flowers so you’ll get darker and different blends. It’s fun to taste honey from all regions. I really enjoy honey – people send me honey from all over the world and it’s just crazy how different they taste from region to region.

“Even just here in Michigan, across the state from north to south, you’ll get different honey and its different in the spring than it is in the summer and the fall. You’ll get a great experience tasting honey all over the world, but especially here in Michigan, we just have a lot of flavors.”

Great Lakes Bee Co.’s Hasselman’s Honey can be found at Whole Foods Grand Rapids, Spice Merchants inside Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, Rockford Cheese Shop; and in area Spartan Stores soon. It’ll also be available at West Michigan Meijer stores starting in mid-October. All honey products, including beeswax, candles, balms, salves, can also be found line at www.GreatLakesBeeCo.com

Watch Genji Leclair’s full interview on Good Day Northern Michigan, here.

 

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GLBC’s honey products now available at Whole Foods Market in Grand Rapids

You know that delicious Hasselman’s Honey and honey infusions we make? You can now purchase them at the new Whole Foods Market in metro Grand Rapids!

Whole Foods Market opened its first West Michigan store on Aug. 16 and features a variety of local products, including Hasselman’s Honey from The Great Lakes Bee Company. Our unprocessed, raw and unfiltered honey is collected from hives around Newaygo County, a region that specializes in honey production due to its unique environment that GLBC bees forage on, producing 150,000 pounds of Michigan honey each year.

As a local Whole Foods Market vendor, you can find GLBC’s Hasselman’s Honey, including comb honey and 3 oz. flavored honey infusions available for purchase inside the new store, 2897 Radcliff Ave SE, in Kentwood. Our honey products are currently located in the produce section, aisle four, and register seven in the check-out lanes.

If you’re as thrilled as we are about having GLBC’s Hasselman’s hometown honey in Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic grocer, buzz on over to the store in Grand Rapids and check it out!

In the Media: 

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New Edition to the Hive: Melissa, GM

Meet GLBC’s newest edition to the hive, Melissa! We’re so excited to have Melissa on board as our General Manager. Melissa joined us last month after an in-depth hiring search across West Michigan. Melissa describes herself as a “Jane of all trades and master of few,” which you’ll learn after reading about her history, home life, hobbies, and volunteering. As GLBC continues to expand, we’re so grateful to be able to have Melissa join us and continue showing everyone what all the buzz is about at GLBC.

Continue reading New Edition to the Hive: Melissa, GM