Round Rock Honey Celebrates a Million Bottles
The bee man with the honey plan makes a million
Nine years after installing his first backyard hive, Konrad Bouffard of Round Rock Honey (www.roundrockhoney.com) is about to sell his millionth bottle of local raw honey. If it's a challenge to wrap your head around that, try contemplating the numbers of blossoms contributing nectar and pollen or the number of bees on the job or even how many times beekeeper Bouffard has jumped into his protective bee gear to extract heavy racks of dripping honeycomb from a buzzing hive (see "A Man, a Plan, and Some Bees," June 12, 2009).
Since selling the first bottle at the Downtown Austin Farmers' Market, Round Rock Honey has steadily built a devoted fan base that appreciates the complex wildflower flavors and potential health benefits of ingesting local pollens, as well as the facts that the honey hasn't been heated or treated and is regularly lab-tested for any pesticides. In the past 18 months, however, "business has become absolutely phenomenal," says an exuberant Bouffard. "We've grown at twice the rate I thought we would."
Bouffard has retired from his day job teaching high school to work full-time with the bees and teach beekeeping classes. "I feel comfortable enough now to put all my eggs in the honey basket," he says. And that basket's getting bigger: Bouffard sells his honey online, in 24 farmers' markets in the Austin and Dallas regions, and in Central Market, Whole Foods, and Sprouts. In addition, an increasing numbers of chefs – along with producers of local artisanal foods, beers, and spirits – are using the honey as an ingredient.
Oh, yeah, what happens with Bottle Number One Million? It'll be tagged with a special sticker under the cap, awarding the lucky purchaser with a handblown jar by San Antonio glass artist Gini Garcia. It'll be filled with – what else – a gallon of Round Rock Honey.