Last year was a very good year for Meg and Buddy DePew and their Sequim Bee Farm, after winning $20,000 through Kitsap Bank’s edg3 FUND small business competition.
This year seems off to a great start for the couple, too.
The DePews won two medals at the Good Food Awards on Jan. 11 in San Francisco, Calif., for their Wildflower Honey and Wildflower Spun honey, which Meg said is micro-crystallized and requires four weeks to prepare.
This was the couple’s fourth year in a row of winning at the Good Food Awards, with the annual contest awarding 220 honors to businesses in 34 states and Washington, D.C.
Chimacum’s Finnriver Farm & Cidery also won a medal for its Golden Russet cider.
Last year, the DePew’s won a medal for their Snowberry rose honey from the Good Food Foundation.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Meg DePew said.
“They said 55 percent of the winners were first-time winners, and it just amazes me we’ve had such a string of being honored by them. It’s a testimony to how good our local honey is. All of our beekeepers in this area, have great honey.”
For the Good Food Awards, participants can enter in 16 categories — beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, elixirs, fish, honey, oils, pantry, pickles, preserves, snacks, spirits — with 250-plus judges participating in blind tastings.
To become a Good Food Award winner, the highest scoring entries underwent a rigorous vetting process for the quality of taste and to meet criteria for sustainability and social responsibility, organizers said.
The awards celebrate “American food and drink crafters who demonstrate a commitment to creating tasty, authentic and responsible products and in doing so, bettering our nation’s food system,” organizers said in press release.
A full list of 2019 Good Food Award Winners can be found online at goodfoodfdn.org/awards/winners.
Winning the edge3 FUND was big for the couple, they said.
To win, Meg presented about the business for five minutes in front of 250-plus people and a panel of judges in Bremerton, similarly to the TV show “Shark Tank.”
Plans to expand remain in motion using the winnings including building a commercial kitchen, automating more and upgrading their website, Meg said.
She said they’ve begun tentative talks with a website designer and started purchasing needed equipment.
“We don’t want to just blow this money,” she said. “We want to get the most from it we can.”
One goal with expanding, Meg said, is to increase the company’s production of spun honey — or creamed honey — with a new machine.
She said to make spun honey they take liquid honey and feed it with micro-crystals to give it a buttery consistency despite having no dairy in it.
She said it remains more shelf stable and never gets “chunky monkeys,” like liquid honey does over time.
“My mission is to bring back spun honey to grocery stores,” Meg said.
In 2018, the DePews oversaw more than 80 hives in the area, including multiple Sequim-area lavender farms. The couple’s honey can be found in stores in three counties and they split their time selling at both Sequim and Port Angeles Farmers Markets.
Meg said they plan to attend a few upcoming festivals in Western Washington and before the spring they plan to speak with larger grocery chains to increase their presence in Western Washington.
For more information, and/or to make an order with Sequim Bee Farm, call 360-460-2341 or visit www.sequimbeefarm.com.