Written by Francie King

On the first floor of Hotel Lucia in Portland, Oregon, the lunch crowd pours into the Imperial restaurant while renowned Chef Vitaly Paley prepares his famous fried chicken. Drizzled with honey sourced from a short elevator ride away, this meal is a testament to the city of Roses culinary wealth. When asked why he partnered with the Bee Local crew to maintain a hive of his own on the Hotel Lucia’s roof, Paley answered: “I’m really interested in sourcing local. To me that’s everything…The seasonality of it is also important. The honey that you extract in June, is not the same as the honey that you’ll extract in September. And when you taste the honey that comes from this one place, it cannot be reproduced anywhere else.”

Upstairs on the Hotel Lucia’s rooftop, the hive is abuzz with activity. The street below is full of traffic and workers going about their daily routine. However, Damian Magista, Bee Local’s founder, is still, cool and collected. “I have every little movement kind-of planned out, which frames (of the hive) I am going to pull up, what I am looking for, and that allows me to work with the bees in a way that’s calming for them, and calming for me.” Magista explains as he splits a thriving hive into two. “If you’re calm, the bees will be too. And if you listen, they’ll tell you when they’ve had enough.”

Staying Calm in the Midst of the Buzz

Bee Local began as a one-man backyard show but now their honey and related products are available for purchase around the world, and prominently displayed in many high-profile restaurants. This growth is a testament not only to the quality of products, but also the reputation they’ve created with savvy partnerships.

Magista and his team’s days are full of activities but their minds remain composed. Utilizing tools like the Bamboo Spark smart notebook, and software such as Google docs, the team is able to maintain its focus by planning ahead. No days is the same and there is no time to waste, so tasks must be divided to keep the team moving. “Beekeeping is a very analog sort of thing, so something like Bamboo Spark fits in perfectly,” Magista explains of his workflow. “To be able to grab a pen and sketch my ideas down, or draw out an apiary is fantastic.”

Head Beekeeper Ryan Lebrun adds: “Being a small team, being able to communicate efficiently on all of our ideas is super crucial to the execution of our plans.” Since they never know where the day will take them, tools that go where they go and work the way they want to work are necessary. Lebrun continues, “(Bamboo Spark) can fit into my bee-keeping tools and I can take it out, jot down my notes.”

Listen / Slow Down / Be Still

Bee Local is about making the best honey possible and about treating our bees with respect. And through that we can start this other conversation about how we can maintain our immediate environments and be good stewards of the land.” Magista and his team’s passion for their important work is clear. It shows in their relationships with partners, their interactions with fellow employees and the way they treat the bees themselves. Their dedication to creating the best honey, free of fillers, always raw, and never blended has been the secret to their success.

To find out more about Bee Local: http://bit.ly/24WiYGv
To find out more about the Hotel Lucia: bit.ly/2681glE
To find out more about the Provenance Hotels: http://bit.ly/1XZF64g
To find out more about Chef Paley: http://bit.ly/1Xu6Qx3