The Business of Bees

How not to get stung in a small, farm-based business? Diversify.

The business of bees - Douglas 10 to watch issue 2023
Beekeeper Lindsay Dault tends to one of 
60-plus hives in Saanich.

In 2015, Jason and Lindsay Dault took a hard look at their big-city life in Vancouver. They took a giant leap of faith and purchased an 11-acre farm in rural Saanich, where Lindsay grew up. If you drive by the rustic country storefront of Country Bee Honey Farm on West Saanich Road you’ll see, well, a hive of activity. 

In the height of bee season, they manage up to 65 hives. That’s a staggering five million bees, plus queens. Country Bee also works with nine other local beekeepers, and pays a premium for local honey.

But success in a small, farm-based business requires diversification, with several revenue streams that are needed to add up to a successful operation. For Country Bee these include:

Honey: The mainstay, but Country Bee has set itself apart by offering several unique, local honeys like Hot Pepper and Lemon Ginger. They’ve also partnered with nearby DEVINE Distillery to age honey in used whisky and rum barrels.

Apitherapy: Honey is long thought to contain healing properties. Their collection of apitherapy products includes royal jelly, pollen, propolis, bee venom and Manuka honey.

Beeswax: A byproduct of honey production, pure beeswax is highly prized by crafters and candlemakers.

Education: From time to time, Lindsay teaches intensive two-day classes on the art of beekeeping. Her students have included local farmers, winemakers and chefs interested in pollination and food production.

Farm: In 2016, the family spent a week planting 900 Douglas fir trees, which are now ready to cut as Christmas trees. Seasonally the farm offers farm-raised poultry, pork and holiday turkeys for sale. 

Retail: Books, gift boxes, essential oils, wildflower seeds and of course beeswax candles are on offer, and there are coffee and local pastries to encourage visitors to linger.