Meet the Maker: Marina Marchese of Red Bee Honey

Agrarian, Makers, Meet, Meet the Maker


Marina Marchese is changing the way people taste and think about honey. Inspired by a trip to Italy where she learned about single-origin honeys, Marina’s Red Bee honey celebrates the philosophy of terroir and the diverse flavor profiles of honey determined by the types of nectar gathered by the honeybees.


Read on to find out how Marina got her start as a beekeeper, the benefits of single-source honey, and why she coined the term “honey sommelier.”


Describe your evolution from a designer to a beekeeper.

After graduating from the School of Visual Arts I worked as a freelance illustrator in New York City, eventually traveling abroad to research and design for the giftware market. In 2000, I was unexpectedly introduced to beekeeping and became utterly hooked after tasting fresh honey still warm from the hive. The more that I learned about bees and honey the more I felt it should be regarded as a noble food and given the same respect as wine or olive oil. RED BEE HONEY was officially launched with my first harvest using my design sensibilities to give honey a sophisticated edge. Passions can take you on a life-long journey and I combined my creative spirit with bees to make my passion into a business.


What is “single-origin” honey?

Single-origin honey is produced from the nectar of a one type of flower, imparting a distinctive color, aroma and flavor profile. Honey, like wine, reflects its source and environment or terroir. There are thousands of types of honey plants and each one influences the sensory qualities of the honey in a unique and delicious way.


Describe the different processes  and methods involved in producing different kinds of Red Bee honey.

Single-origin honey is the result of the seasons, nectar flow and terroir. Beekeepers must know not just about the management of their honeybee colonies but the honey plants and bloom times. As the interest for our products grows we support full time beekeepers to stage beehives in various fields and farms to pollinate crops and to produce honey with distinctive flavor profiles. For example, when honeybees are gathering nectar from the blueberry flower, the honey that is harvested immediately after the bloom will have the natural essence of blueberries’ flavor notes.


How did your travels to Italy influence your products and methods?

The inspiration for all of my Red Bee products is deeply influenced by my Italian roots. My love of craftsmanship and design are the essence of my culture and are woven into everything I do. I have a keen eye for detail that is very important to my philosophy of creating visually appealing and exquisite products.


Describe a day in the life at Red Bee Honey.

Red Bee is a small boutique apiary. We keep bees, chickens and an enormous edible garden. A typical day begins with checking emails, scheduling events and following up with orders and the various requests we receive surprisingly for visits to see the bees. My assistant and helper arrive to hand bottle honey, whip up our Rossape skin care products and pack orders for customers. During bee season we host educational apiary visits and honey tastings. People everywhere are excited about honeybees and come from all over to attend these popular events. I also travel quite often to speak about beekeeping, the business of honey, and the art of tasting honey. In between, I have been penning my second book HONEY co-authored with Bee Culture editor Kim Flottum, due out in 2013.


What are the benefits of single-source honey?

Single source or single-origin honey represents a honey that truly reflects the floral source and its terroir — the climate, region and soil. Honeybees also pollinate many of these important plants that produce some of the foods found at our local farmers’ market. Single-source honey embraces the seasons – what the bees are doing and what flowers are blooming.


Why should people seek out artisan honey?

Artisan honey is produced in limited quantities often by small apiaries with a deep respect for the honeybees. The harvesting and bottling process is done by hand rather than with sophisticated equipment, maintaining the integrity of the final product. Attention is to the quality and character of the honey rather than quantity and uniformity. Honey is a product of nature and we celebrate artisan honey for the ways Mother Nature alters the color, aroma and flavor of every harvest.


What are your favorite ways to eat your honey?

A generous piece of freshly sliced honeycomb, Robiola due Latti, crusty Italian peasant bread, and a glass of sparkling Prosecco.


 What is the best part about being a beekeeper?

Beekeeping has given me a tremendous respect for nature, honeybees and their essential work pollinating our food. The best part for me is changing the way people think about and use honey through my honey tastings. There is also an element of romance and mystique in ditching your job to live the life you dream about, and I feel lucky to have taken the chance.


What is a “honey sommelier”?

I coined the term honey sommelier in my first book HONEYBEE: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper. Essentially it is someone who is knowledgeable about the sensory qualities of many different types of honey, can articulate its flavor profiles and how to pair them with food. I often consult with chefs and introduce them to seasonal honeys, write tasting notes and pairing menus for each.


7 comments about “Meet the Maker: Marina Marchese of Red Bee Honey

  1. How to Taste Honey

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  3. sharon mclean

    how can purchse one of your books i live in spain but spend alot of time in london.thankyou,hope to hear from you

    1. Elias

      Hello dear
      I’m iranian beekeeper
      My name is elias
      I live in shiraz city
      Do I can email address of marina marchese ?

  4. HSA Departure Of President and CEO Yvette L. Campbell

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