Bare Honey from Minnesota Honey Producers

Bare Honey wants to sweeten daily lives and contribute to environmental awareness.
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The happy family on their orchard: Grace, Dustin, and their two children, Isaac and Sage.

The Bare Honey happy family on their orchard: Grace, Dustin, and their two children, Isaac and Sage.

History of Bare Honey: The Passion behind the Product.

Bare Honey came into being on the plains of Minnesota, where farming and husbandry create the core of the community. On offer are several single-source honeys such as lavender and wildflower, infused versions such as bee pollen for allergy sufferers and hot & spicy for the more adventurous, and spreadable treats such as vanilla bean and chocolate honeys.

"My time with the bees is a Zen-like experience," says Dustin Vanasse, cofounder of Bare Honey, shown here (inset) with his daughter.

"My time with the bees is a Zen-like experience," says Dustin Vanasse, cofounder of Bare Honey, shown here with his daughter. 

The Persons

Dustin and Grace Vanasse grew up on family farms in the Midwest, and their love of food and dedication to the environment led them into the kitchen professionally. Dustin traveled the world as a restaurant chef, while Grace was making her mark as a much-lauded baker in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Eventually, two bundles of joy came into their lives, and they found themselves wanting to return to their farming and family roots.

Fortuitously, a friend asked them to tend his beehives for a period of time, and then magic happened. As Grace tells it, “Dustin opened a hive of bees for the first time, and from that very first moment, he was mesmerized by the soft hum of their wings, and the sweet and waxy scent of the bees themselves.”

The Passion

Grace and Dustin's driving purpose was to establish and enhance the family values they grew up with, and to foster community involvement. They derived enormous gratification from seeing their small children enthusiastically offering honey samples at the local farmers market, and they began to participate in fundraisers for schools and community organizations, enabling them to pursue their goal of connecting kids and their families with a sense of where their food comes from.

As they came to know more about the perils, as well as the pleasures, of beekeeping, they found the fight against Colony Collapse Disorder to be a perfect entry point to environmental awareness. As Dustin points out, “Honeybees are a flagship species, the canary in the coal mine, if you will. The issues that have been causing the decline of honeybees since the 1980s are now spilling over into the rest of our environment. All pollinators are being affected by pesticides, raising the alarm for nearly a decade.”

In addition to promoting awareness in their product materials and in their interactions with the community, the Vanasses contribute to nonprofits on the frontline of the battle against pollinator decline, such as Pollinator Partnership and Pollinate Minnesota.

And even though their company is expanding to include new employees as demand for their scrumptious honeys grows, the Vanasses are determined to maintain the integrity of their roots. As Grace sees it, “our focus going forward is on simultaneously building an honest, working company and raising a balanced and well-rounded family based on hard work, kindness, and health.” For Dustin and Grace Vanasse, it’s always about family.

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See our Chile & Chocolate-Spiked Cornbread recipe, featuring Bare Honey!

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