Oh Honey

Beez Kneez and Mademoiselle Miel put Twin Cities honey on the map.

Beez Kneez Honey
Photo by Katherine Harris

Life in these cities just got a little sweeter with the nation’s biggest urban bee center project now well underway. Do you know Beez Kneez? Kristy Allen and Erin Rupp are the ones with black and white stockings and pipe cleaner– festooned bike helmets who swoop through town, delivering their urban-made honey to farmers’ markets, co-ops, and door to door.

Along with Marla Spivak (MacArthur Fellow and Distinguished McKnight Professor at the University of Minnesota), Allen and Rupp transformed Washburn and Blake High Schools, countless community gardens, and city backyards into delicious classrooms of honey-making activity. This year, Beez Kneez reached more than 150 kids and adults through private and public bee classes. The bee team is also working on building a new urban bee center and Honey House with bike-powered honey extractors and space for lectures, classes, and the U of M’s Bee Squad, a mentoring program for backyard beekeepers.

This isn’t the only bee-fueled innovation that’s buzzy right now. Witness the success of Susan Brown harvesting honey for her Mademoiselle Miel’s bonbons from the roof of the W Minneapolis—The Foshay. Enrobed in glorious Italian Domori chocolate, these confections grace the pillows of the W’s guests as well as local gourmet shops throughout the Twin Cities. Brown’s planned apiaries on the roof of the Union Depot in St. Paul are not far from her soon-to-open retail space on Kellogg Boulevard near the History Center.

Brown collaborates with Spivak and Beez Kneez in spreading the sweet news about bees and their benefits to all of us. “Bees connect everyone—scientists, environmentalists, educators, gardeners. I love the work Marla, Kristy, and Erin are doing, and I take a more poetic approach. Bees create the most divine food; what better way to celebrate their gift to us than with the world’s best chocolate?”

In the new Mademoiselle Miel shop, we’ll find a range of honeyed delights—French pastries, ice cream, jellies— as well as those handcrafted chocolates. Each candy is filled with fresh, lush nectar, some of it lightly kissed with smoke. They’re finished with a dab of edible 23-karat gold leaf and fit for a queen. thebeezkneezdelivery.com, mademoisellemiel.com