Top 10 Bee's Knees

Apis (Photo by John Anderson)

1) Apis

In its first year of operation, the restaurant and apiary overlooking the Pedernales River won our hearts with impeccable honeycomb decor and local, seasonal ingredients fashioned in classically creative dishes and cocktails.

2) Two Hives Honey

Specializing in all-natural, raw, and unfiltered honey products harvested from neighborhood micro-apiaries around town, this 2015 Austin Food & Wine Alliance grant recipient offers a chance for novices to house two fully maintained hives while honing beekeeping skills.

3) The Austin Area Beekeepers Association

Their sold-out 2015 annual conference at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offered 15 expert-taught classes, ranging in skill level and topical interests. Tickets are still available for the fifth annual event, January 16, at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus.

4) Bee Friendly Austin

Tanya and Chuck Phillips operate a Certified Naturally Grown apiary with on-site small-scale beekeeping classes in Southwest Austin.

5) Crownfox Farms

Sarah King and Deano Jones' 20-acre East Austin organic bee farm is a nationally Certified Wildlife Habitat specializing in small batches and the rehabilitation of aggressive bees. The duo is campaigning through Indiegogo for help with an imperative irrigation project.

6) Austin Bees

Brandon Fehrenkamp is a longtime advocate working tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate feral bees, and his Facebook page acts as a fascinating hub of beekeeping news.

7) Meridian Hive Meadery

This local mead brewery (and another 2015 AFWA grant-winner) purveys several kinds of artisan honey wines around town, and they're working on a tasting room. Try the blackberry Rhapsody this season.

8) American Honey Bee Protection Agency

Walter Schumacher's organization cultivates a bee-friendly culture through awareness with on-site apiaries at area schools, business rooftop hives, a Travis County corrections inmate program, and proactive bee preventative abatement with partners like P. Terry's Burger Stand.

9) Lone Star – Africa Works

In 2015, this local nonprofit partnered with beekeepers in South Sudan to send their young country's first export to the USA: natural honey. The sales (a work in progress, in partnership with AHBPA) serve to boost community rebuilding efforts after civil war with 8.5 acres of cultivated land for next year's hives and harvest.

10) Bee Sweet Lemonade

Mikaila Ulmer, age 10, paired saving bees with her grandma's flaxseed lemonade recipe. After a Shark Tank appearance, her bottles are sold at Whole Foods around the country, with a portion of proceeds donated to Heifer International, the Texas Beekeepers Association, and the Sustainable Food Center.

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