After helping out with her friend’s beehive, Papetti’s bee addiction began, leading her to desire hives of her own.
“My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said, ‘Oh I want a hive of bees,’ so yeah, that’s what I ended up getting,” Papetti says.
Papetti later received a call from a man whose father was a beekeeper and had passed away. He was hoping to sell all of his father’s equipment. Papetti arrived at the man’s house with $100, thinking she’d walk away with a bee suit or two, but ended up driving away with $8,500 worth of equipment for a mere $100.
Now that she had the equipment and bees, Papetti began diving into the world of beekeeping and continued to research the topic. She started harvesting her own honey and selling it on Facebook.
Papetti’s grandma was living with her at the time, and getting her grandma to go out and be social was starting to become more difficult. The only way she could get her grandma to go out and do anything was if it was work-based.
To get her grandma to socialize, Papetti would tell her grandma that they needed to go deliver honey. Once a week, the duo would deliver honey to locations all over Whatcom County.
“Grandma was really an integral part of it, you know, she used to help me wax the honey pot tops, and paint the boxes, and stuff like that. And then, it was mainly just a hobby to keep grandma having something to do. And then I built the website because there were so many orders coming in from different ways,” Papetti says.
After her grandma passed away, Papetti had more time to spend on her bees and purchased more hives. She also began teaching bee classes to various groups of people.
“In doing that, I realized how many women were interested in becoming beekeepers and how it could really be supportive for their families,” Papetti says.
Papetti now works with female beekeepers across the Pacific Northwest, selling their honey along with her own honey nationwide. She and her fellow beekeepers hope to practice and promote sustainable beekeeping.
Marie’s Bees uses a commercial kitchen to achieve various honey types and flavors. Options include regular honey, creamed cinnamon honey, creamed honey zinger, and hazelnut honey, among others.
Papetti’s honey can be purchased through mariesbees.com. You can also find it at various local markets and shops.
Marie’s Bees also partners with several businesses to create delicious honey-flavored products. For example, Evolve Chocolate + Cafe sells a decadent dark chocolate honeycomb using Marie’s Bees honey, and Mallard Ice Cream makes and sells honey hazelnut ice cream.
“Supporting beekeeping means supporting our livelihood as a whole because without the pollination of bees, we’re not going to be here,” Papetti says.
She stresses the importance of paying attention to what pesticides you are using because pesticides are the number one killer of bees. She also encourages people to research or ask a beekeeper if they are interested in beekeeping.
“Between empowering women, saving the bees, and doing sustainable beekeeping and education, it’s been incredible,” Papetti says. 1196 Lingbloom Rd., Bellingham, 360.224.2387, mariesbees.com