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Honey Badgers Bee Farm

Written by John Kuder

Table Of Contents

Buzzing with Passion: A Journey Into Family, Bees, and the Sweet Taste of Success

In the world of small family businesses, few stories resonate as sweetly as that of Honey Badgers Bee Farm. Nestled in the heart of Brooksville, Florida, this buzzing enterprise serves as a testament to innovation, resilience, and the power of family bonds. Derrick and Bill Jerome, the dynamic father-and-son duo, have taken the simple love for honey and transformed it into a flourishing business that’s as innovative as it is inspiring.

A Sweet Start

The origins of Honey Badgers Bee Farm are rooted in personal necessity and a pinch of serendipity. Derrick’s battle with severe allergies led him on a quest for natural remedies, drawing him towards the raw, authentic honey sold by a “local redneck” at the flea market. The profound relief he found in consuming comb honey and honeycomb spurred him to delve deeper into the world of beekeeping. Despite being deemed “crazy” by his wife for wanting to keep bees in the city, Derrick’s determination saw him attending local bee club meetings, eventually bringing two hives into their backyard. This was the humble beginning of what would evolve into Honey Badgers Bee Farm.

Growth and Innovation

From two hives to over 200, the Jerome family has not only expanded their apiary but also their product line in remarkable ways. Their introduction of smoked honey varieties like five pepper smoked honey and smoked garlic honey has set them apart in the market. But perhaps what’s most fascinating about Honey Badgers Bee Farm is their inventive spirit. Whether it’s creating a “badger spoon” that offers the perfect serving size for their honey tea blends or their ingenious method of producing tea by utilizing what would be wastewater from the cleaning of their machinery, innovation lies at the heart of their operation.

Challenges and Triumphs

Yet, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The journey of Honey Badgers Bee Farm is marked by its share of challenges, from having to part with their original name, Hobbit Honey, to navigating the complexities of growing a small business in a competitive market. Despite these hurdles, their story is one of triumph, underscored by their recent partnership with Walmart, which stands as a testament to their hard work and quality products.

Family at the Core

At its core, Honey Badgers Bee Farm is about family. Working alongside each other, the Jeromes have found a perfect balance, with each member playing to their strengths. From handling technology and computer-related tasks to ensuring the quality of their products through meticulous handcrafting, their collective effort is a prime example of successful family collaboration.

Looking to the Future

As Honey Badgers Bee Farm looks to the future, they are poised for further growth. With plans to expand their facilities and explore co-packing options while staying true to their commitment to quality and natural production, the skies are the limit. Their story inspires not just budding entrepreneurs but anyone who believes in the power of passion, perseverance, and, most importantly, family.

Experience Honey Badgers Bee Farm

For those intrigued by the sweet success of the Honey Badgers Bee Farm, the Jeromes welcome visits to their property in Brooksville, where they offer tours, beekeeping classes, and a chance to see where and how their products are made. Their lineup of honeys, teas, and other innovative products is also available on their website, offering a taste of their dedication to quality and natural ingredients.

In celebrating small family businesses, Honey Badgers Bee Farm stands out as a beacon of innovation, resilience, and family unity. Their journey is a reminder of what’s possible when you blend passion with hard work and a touch of creativity. So, the next time you enjoy a spoonful of honey or a cup of natural tea, remember the story of Derrick, Bill, and the Honey Badgers Bee Farm – a family that turned their sweet dreams into reality.

Visit their website: https://www.honeybadgersbeefarm.com/

Follow their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/honeybadgersbeefarm

Note: The preceding blog post is generated by AI and may have minimal editing. The transcription is AI generated but has been edited by a human for accuracy. The original video content is entirely human and imperfect.

Transcript of podcast:

John and Connie: Hi and welcome to another episode of Celebrating Small Family businesses.

We’re John and Connie Kuder.. And today we have with us Bill and Derrick, sorry, Derrick in foreground, Bill Jerome. And they are Honey Badger’s Bee Farm. They have a fascinating story and a fascinating line products I’ve never before.

So we are excited to be here. Hi Derrick. Hi Bill.

Derrick and Bill: Definitely.

John and Connie: Welcome to the party.

Derrick and Bill: Hi, I’m Derek. I’m Derek Jerome. And this is my father right here next to me. Uh, it is a family business. , My brother couldn’t make it today. He’s, he’s under the weather. He’s the third badger.

John and Connie: That’s a third badger. All right. Love the name of, of your business. That is fabulous. So how did your business get started? What, uh, what got you into this?

Derrick and Bill:

Well, basically I, my, well, my dad thought I was crazy, but I have real bad allergies in the, uh, the spring and fall. And I would track down the local redneck at the flea market that had three teeth and suspenders. and look for the authentic honey with the guy and I would find him and I would go and get the comb honey that was in the big mason jar.

And I was like, I know this guy went out in his backyard or up a tree to get this. And I would use the honey and I would eat the honeycomb and in the spring and the fall, my allergies would stop. And I was like, this is fantastic. This works great. Um, because I would get to the point I’d have to take so many pills or I would take Benadryl and start chewing them up like Flintstone vitamins and become narcoleptic as I was trying to walk. So I was like, I got to get honey. So I started taking it and I went to go find the guy and he was gone. I was like, man, how am I going to get honey? So I went to the local Trader Joe’s. I went to all the health food stores. I was like, I want real honey. And as I read on the, on the different jars, I found out, well, this is from Argentina, this is from Pakistan, or this is from another state or God knows what it is.

And I would try to take some of it and it wouldn’t work for me. So I came up with the idea and I come home one day and I told my wife, I said, I, you know, I’ve been YouTubing and I’ve been studying getting bees. I want to get bees. And she told me I was crazy that we lived in the city and I was not going to get bees.

And I said, you know what? I’m going to go to the local meetings with the bee club, meet with some other people that do bees. And I said, I’m going to learn about it. And I’m going to get bees. I’m bringing them home. No, no, no. You’re crazy. Well, I went and got two hives. I brought them home. And put them right in the backyard.

And this is, at this time we lived in the city, so you walked out our back door and there was two full size hives sitting right outside our back door. And that pretty much started everything. Uh, we’re over 200 hives now that we currently manage. Uh, but those first two hives that I got started it in the city, in the backyard.

So that, that basically, and that was my medicine was to go out there and get that. And I was like, this is fun. I got a bunch of extra honey. What am I going to do with it? I’m like, I’ll sell to the guys at work. This is pretty cool. And we started bottling it and I started selling it. I started rescuing bees.

, My brother and I started, uh, he has a pest control company and we started going out and taking them out of fascias, soffits, out of houses, water meters, and that continued to bring more and more bees. So every time we had a rescue, then we got another hive. And as we were doing this and started selling honey, My dad, he goes, that looks fun.

Let me, join you guys. Do we want to start a little business? I’m like, okay. So pop jumped in and, uh, he has a huge culinary background. Dad and I used to have a restaurant years ago. Uh, we, we shut down , back in 2010, but we had a barbecue restaurant for 10 years and, , we started playing around with the honey, going to flea markets, selling it.

And, uh, we were like, well, raw honey’s all right, but it just doesn’t have a, a big appeal. I’ll see you once a year, every six months, and it was like, we got to do something else. So we came up with five pepper smoked honey and we tried it at a flea market and people went, Oh my God, this, we’ve never seen anything like this before.

And that was pretty much our eureka moment. And we went, I think we’re onto something, Dad. I said, uh, let’s figure out what else we can do. And the next one he came up with was smoked garlic. And we took that out there. People absolutely loved it. They fell in love with it. They went, Smoked honey, garlic, this is awesome.

I said, yeah, it’s all local farms around here. When we live in Brooksville, I said, we just get to get the ingredients and smoke it up and throw it right in the honey. Oh, this is neat. And I’m like, okay, I think we’re onto something dad. So we just kind of puttered around doing different small trade events.

And under that, um, guys as a beekeeper, you’re in the cottage law. So you can basically sell honey. You can kind of manipulate it a little bit and work with it. And as we continue to progress and grow, we got to the point that, uh, we made too much money to have it as a hobby or as cottage law, and we had to go commercial.

So we actually went with the USDA and Department of Ag and became bottling manufacturers and got certified. And then we continued to take the, uh, the brand and line and go with it. So it’s, it’s been a crazy ride and It seems like every couple of months, something else pops out. We get going even more.

Yeah. And originally we were known as Hobbit Honey, but because when we become a little bit popular and people started seeing us on Facebook and everything else, the people from, uh, um, what’s the name of their company? Middle Earth Industries. They contacted us and said, we own the word Hobbit. Take it down or we’ll fine you $15, 000 a day.

So we took it down and we came up with Honey Badgers. And it’s basically Honey Badgers don’t give a care.

John and Connie: I remember that little YouTube video that was going around like a meme. Honey Badger’s bada** That was so funny. Oh my goodness.

Derrick and Bill: It’s a bit of a nickname for me. I’m small and furry and ferocious. So a lot of the boys at work, that’s what they said. And when I was changing my name. Yeah, it’s a bit of a nickname. go, well, you’re like a little Honey Badger. Yeah. Yeah, you’re, you’re mean and mean like a little honey badger you want to scratch and bite, and I’m like, oh, well, that worked for me.

John and Connie: I love it. I love it. Better name anyway. I’m really curious about the, the smoking idea. I mean, did that come from the barbecue restaurant or what? I mean, what, where did that idea come from? I’ve never heard of smoking, you know, mixing smoke and honey.

Derrick and Bill: It was, uh, it was one of those kind of ideas. I’ve made a pepper sauce from scratch that I actually made for the restaurant. And it was wildly popular. We also made hot sauce that we sold over the counter and I put, I like to smoke meat, obviously doing a barbecue, but I put those together and I went, you know what?

I bet if I smoke, smoke the peppers. and then infuse them into the honey, then I’m going to come up with a better product. And we tested it and we went, Oh my God. Oh, okay. This is good. And that’s pretty much the Eureka is that we’ve, we’ve been working, making sauce like barbecue sauce for years, but we never thought when we had the restaurant to really use natural ingredients instead of using, you know, um, the fake honeys and stuff that you get in high fructose corn syrup to make barbecue sauce.

At the restaurant, we would, we went, Oh, wow, now we have a natural product. Let’s infuse it. And then now when we give it to somebody, and we say, okay, we’re selling you this. Not only is it good forever, but everything in it you can pronounce. You don’t need YouTube or Google search to figure out what’s in it.

And it lasts forever. It’s one of those miracle things. And we said that, you know, we get a lot of people, you see, um, some of the other companies out there, and they make it all pure where it looks absolutely purty in there. Well, we leave the peppers and everything in there. We want you to get all the good stuff.

Because that’s obviously where all the vitamin C, that’s where all the other good parts of the pepper is actually in the flesh. So we leave the pepper seeds and the flesh all in there. So you’re getting, you’re getting actually everything with it. And, uh, we’ve taken that, that kind of, uh, leave everything in the bottle and leave it all natural from the garlic and the smoke all the way to now what we’re producing is tea.

And we didn’t even think that was going to be that popular. And that was more of an accident than, uh, anything. Yeah. But, but that was, that was a nice accident.

 You went to the World Tea Expo and came in, uh, like second in the world or something?

Derrick and Bill: Yeah, we took, uh, that was last March. Um, all three of us flew out to Vegas. We were invited, , as a, um, to come out and, , show our wares and have a small area and a brand new undiscovered section. So we got invited to that, but part of that every year they do a Def Chante, which is one of the founders tea that brought it to America.

Um, they do tea tycoons and it’s everybody in the world can enter this contest every year. And I put us in and I said, okay, we’ll, we’ll put in for what we do with the tea and. We were coming up with a new invention. This is our badger spoon that holds the exact amount of tea for our honey tea and makes it single serving.

And we’re like, we’ll put it in and see what happens. And I kept getting calls every few months that like, okay, you’re in the last 10, 000. I’m like, yeah, okay. That’s great. I’m like, we’re, we’re coming to display our stuff in Vegas. We’re going to come anyway. I said, you know, you give me false hope with winning the Tea Tycoons.

I said, it’s fine. And as we progressively got closer, she called me up a couple weeks before we flew out. She says, you’re in the finals. And I went, what? She says, yeah, it’s you and, uh, there’s going to be six of you on stage. And I go, Okay. I said, that sounds great. She says, well, you guys are going to battle it on the stage and you’re going to talk about your business.

He says, do you have any problems talking? I go, no, you’ll probably have to tell me to shut up or throw something at me. I said, but I have no problems talking. I said, I’ll be more than happy to talk about what we did and how we developed it. So we ended up going up head to head with Australia that made a tea based wine without alcohol for like Zima for tea.

I don’t, I don’t know. And, um, they took first and we took second in the world. So we were in a few of the bigger publications, Tea Time magazine, some of the ones with, uh, dad and I don’t really understand. It’s got the little doilies and, uh, little crumpet cakes and the old ladies with the hat. It was like, we were in some of those and they asked us, you know.

Hey, you’re, we have all that. Yeah, we’re a farm. I said, we’re honey badgers. We’re not, I don’t know what the doily and little cakes are for, but our tea is really good.

John and Connie: That’s, that’s fascinating. Yeah. You talk, yeah, you talk about the doilies and all that, like thinking about the English high tea and there’s such a kind of a ritual around that and the English are very particular about their tea. I’d be very curious to see how your tea honey mixture is received by the Brits. That’s fun. Wow.

What a great story. So tell us about working together. What, what is it that, that makes it so much fun? Because obviously you guys are successful with it.

Derrick and Bill: Partly is I’m a retired chef. So it, and Derek and Andy both have culinary backgrounds, so it’s kind of like you throw out an idea and it bounces around. You’ve got three different opinions and sometimes we all settle on the same opinion. Sometimes we don’t, but. Then we try something, we just see where it goes.

And it depends on the taste buds. Uh, my brother’s taste buds are kind of like, we call him the Helen Keller of taste buds sometimes, but he also provides that valuable feedback, but we, we razz him up. We go like, what does this taste like? And he’s like, uh, and we’re like, no, no, no, no, no, that’s not it. So, but we, uh, we, we have this great relationship.

We’re coming up with ideas and, uh, we’ve just grand slandered them. And some of them come from little things that the whole idea with the tea, I think is, uh, we, we both get aggravated, uh, to a certain extent, sometimes at the shows doing trade shows that people ask us for a half hour, what kind of tea or what kind of honey to put in their tea and how much they love this kind of tea and that kind of tea.

And we’ll take it to the point where we know what your palate is. And we know what honey will kind of work with it. And then they just go, uh, I’m just going to take this weird honey here and throw it all in the tea. And we’re like, what? I’m like, oh, okay. And when I come back to you one day, I said, you know what?

We were watching Karate Kid, I think is how it started. I was watching Karate Kid with one of my, my daughters and I’m watching the tea ceremony. And if you’re watching him do the, uh, little hook and there, and I put it in and I seen that and I went. That’s green tea, and it’s a powder. He’s putting it in water.

I’m like That’s an idea. So I actually got green real green tea and Matcha, and I said well if you could do a water Why couldn’t you infuse it in the honey? And then you could take it out of the honey in a spoon and put it back in the water and now it’s sweetened And ready to go And the rest is history.

That was our first one was matcha. And we put it out there on the market and people went, Oh my God, this is awesome. All in one product.

John and Connie: And you don’t, uh, I’m not as familiar with tea as I am with coffee, but you know, once you grind, they say once you grind coffee beans, you know, oil, the flavors start to degrade, and that’s why the, you know, the canned stuff doesn’t taste as good as fresh ground.

With tea, when you infuse the, the tea into the honey, does the, you don’t get any kind of chemical reaction that, that changes flavor of the tea?

Derrick and Bill: Nope. And no, actually the, uh, flavor stays right along with the, the, the honey in the tea, because you’re actually consuming the tea leaf right along with the honey. So you’re getting all the free radicals and all that, all of that with, with the tea. Yeah, we didn’t, we don’t just brew the tea and put it in the honey.

We take the, just like a matcha, we take it all and it all goes in. So it’s, you’re drinking the leaf and uh, our coffee variety, you’re actually drinking the coffee bean too, which is actually wonderfully good for you. And, uh, if you think about it, we throw the good part when you’re drinking tea bath water, 90 percent of the time, and you’re taking all the leaves and you’re chucking them in the trash can, where that’s a beneficial part of the tea, and a lot of the older teas and stuff, depending on where you’re getting it from, God knows how old that little teabag is. Part of the, uh, being there and winning that contest was the connections we made. So I actually got to meet with the people that make the tea in their origin countries. So these guys were from Nepal, they were from Southeast Asia, they were from all around the world and they were the actual farmers and family businesses.

So we got bougie kind of with our tea. So the black tea comes from Nepal, um, the butterfly pea flower comes from Southeast Asia. So I actually got to meet. And connect with other, uh, businesses that are farms that make these products. And we got to make our stuff just that much better. Uh, and, and that is really what pushes us on.

And we didn’t think that tea would be that big of a deal. And we’re like, well, tea’s alright. We make honey, our pepper stuff is cool. And, you know, we’re making flavored honey, this is cool. And it’s like, okay, well tea’s a big thing. Okay, this is a big deal. And they really like it. So, uh, we have that jar all in one and then we just keep stumbling upon crazy stuff.

We were, we’re sitting and we’re cleaning our machine and we’ve had machines specially built and designed, uh, for us under my, my specs and designed to be able to do this and we’re cleaning the machine, but to clean the machine out, we’ve got to put water in the machine. So we have to dump it in and then it shoots it out and shoots back out

through the machine. And at the end, we have a, you know, a two and a half gallon bucket and it’s shooting out green tea. And we’re like, man, this kind of looks good. So we tasted it and it was like, oh my God, this is great. This still tastes delicious. And this is just going out. This is wastewater. So we started bottling 16 ounce teas that are all natural teas that don’t, they have to be refrigerated at all times, of course, or anything else at all.

But we actually started putting those and that was kind of something that started just from us cleaning the machine. We said, we got some bottles, let’s bottle this up. We’ll give it out. See what people think kind of gets that, that mentality from it. And it’s got to the point now I run 14 gallons per batch to make that tea.

And I don’t do the cleaning anymore, but. The cleaning is what started it, but it’s now I’m actually have to make batches of tea and we’re running about 800 ish teas a week, um, in nine different flavors that are available and about 80 different retailers around our area right now. So tea is super hot with us and, uh, it’s our, our, our honey based tea.

Everything’s got honey, tea, purified water, and then any kind of, um, if we put a natural ingredients, it’s one of those. Natural flavor characters. It’s really concentrated. It gives it a real good, uh, a little flavor to it. And that whole idea came from us cleaning the machinery and going, man, I don’t want to throw all this out.

This stuff tastes delicious. And we had a distributor come in and he grabbed it and went, man, this, this is great. And we’re in local mom and pops and people are grabbing our quick grab-and-go teas that has that higher quality of tea and honey, and it’s an all natural product. Nothing, you know, there’s no crazy stabilizers And they’re they’re grabbing it and it’s like this is this is fantastic and it’s it’s amazing We keep stumbling upon some weird ideas that we’re bouncing off each other and he says let’s let’s put it in the bottle See what works. I’m like, okay, it works people like it

John and Connie: That’s so, I mean, is so core to, um, success is testing things, you test, try new stuff, test and see what works. And, and you don’t have to, you don’t have to put, go all in on something, right. You try something, can, you market it a little bit. I mean that’s, and, and that, I

Derrick and Bill: And that’s all and he’s got a lot of people that we can test market with at the jail. So We send it, send it there first of all, and then get feedback. And then, uh, we’ve, we’ve put a lot of samples out in different places, sell food places, then some of the gyms and stuff like that. We got feedback on some of it.

Well, this might be, this is a little bit too sweet. So we back off on the sweetness of it. Uh, the amount of honey that we put into it and that. And then that was our feedback. And it’s like, then we got down to where, okay, these are all good. Boom. Oh yeah. It’s, and it was nothing but buying some bottles that,

John and Connie: You’re a full-time Sheriff’s Deputy?

Derrick and Bill: Yep. I’m assigned right now to a corrections. I’m dual certified law enforcement and corrections.

John and Connie: Okay, so that’s what Bill by, uh, I wanted to make, I wanted to clarify that. That’s what Bill meant by, um, you know, you’ve got a lot of people that test at the jail. Captive audience.

Derrick and Bill: Yeah, yeah, yeah,

Yeah, not an inmate. Those are other, uh, what we call ourselves jail guards or the other deputy sheriffs that work there at the facility. And, uh, it’s kind of like that old commercial. If Mikey, see if Mikey will eat it, Mikey will try anything. Well, I’d take it to work and, you know.

The boys basically try everything. They humor me, but now they’ve got to the point that they know whatever I bring is probably going to be really good. So they, they all run and bug the crap out of me. Like, Oh, let me try it. I got to try it. Oh, what’d you make now? Or what is this? And I tested out on them.

I said, give me your honest opinion because I know you will. Unlike, you know, normal people. I said, you’re not going to hurt my feelings. The honey badger don’t care. Just tell me if it tastes like crap it tastes or what it needs. And, uh, we, we take it out there and we let everybody at, have a go at, at it, especially when we’re doing tests.

I want, uh, other pallets and other people testing it just to see what, uh, what the, the consensus is on it.

John and Connie: Yeah, yeah. You get a, kind of like with your brother, you get a broad, uh, spectrum of palates because they don’t come necessarily from a culinary background where you guys have got a well-trained palate.

Derrick and Bill: Right.

John and Connie: Very cool. Is there a challenge that you’ve overcome together as family you think would other family businesses benefit hearing about? Or a lesson learned?

Derrick and Bill: I don’t know.  I mean, we have a unique, kind of dynamic. Uh, we actually, we moved from, Pinellas, uh, back in 2017, out here to the woods, what we call it, on five acres. We were going to, I was going to wait until I retired to move out, but it actually made a family dynamic that my Mom and Dad are living with me.

We’re living in one big giant house here on the property and we’re kind of setting up a little farm and that, that actually works and that, that dynamic works, uh, you know, with my kids and my wife and my, I have my Mom and Dad here. That are just downstairs. They live in live in the downstairs portion.

We’re in a huge three story It’s almost 5, 000 square foot. But when we seen the house originally I was looking for bee land So it always goes right back to bees again. I was looking with a realtor friend. He says hey, you know I know you’re just looking for land, but I got this really cool spot. I want you to go look at I’m like listen I don’t retire for a while Uh, I think I’m a little outside of retiring and driving over an hour to be out in the woods.

I said, I just need some spots to put bees. Find me something, you know, junky and cheap. You know, where I can drop bees in a good area. He goes, just go look at this house. You’ve got to, you have to see it. So, I, of course, popped up here and looked at it and went, Oh, Dad? Dad? I said, uh, get Mom and come up here.

And then I called my wife. I said, you need to come up here and look at this. And we, we fell in love with this house and the rest is history. So we’ve been here since, uh, 2017 and we continue to expand upon what we’re doing here at the farm, but it’s always challenging with family. We do go back and forth, do a little bit of the OCC, uh, chopper stuff every once in a while.

We, we get to, we get in, uh, but that’s family. But at the end of the day, even with my brother, um, you know, you mess up or something happens. And you yell at each other. We’re, we’re family at the end of the day. It’s like, I love you, brother. You know, I love you, dad. We’ll see you later. And we continue to charge on, but it’s so great to be involved where you do have family and you don’t have, I have trust issues, obviously, in my line of work and what I do and specifically.

What I do is supervising the criminals and, , I don’t trust what people saying what comes out of their mouth. And that’s, that’s from years of just being in that kind of setting. So it’s good to have the family component there, or I know that I can trust what they’re doing or what they’re saying where I couldn’t put my trust into to an employee.

Uh, I would be too skeptical of that person being around, um, and have trust issues until I really knew that person very well. But having a family thing, it’s great. Having my dad, I can call him up and say, Hey, we got online orders. You better get them out. And get them ready. Or I say, hey, I need this labeled.

Or he tells me, hey, you need to get out there and make some tea. The distributor was just here. Now you need nine cases of this, this, and this. And I’m like, oh god, okay. So, alright, I’m gonna go out and get started on that.

John and Connie: So you mentioned a little bit, you alluded to the different roles in the business. If you guys, uh, is part of your success having really clearly defined who’s doing what, who’s in charge of what, keeping roles straight separate?

Derrick and Bill: Yes, I think so. I get pinned with the technology issues and pretty much the computer end of it. And then we kind of just bounce off of everybody who takes a role. Um, he predominantly does because he doesn’t like the way I put the labels on. They’re not straight. He does all the labeling.

John and Connie: You go with your strengths.

Derrick and Bill: My patience level doesn’t go up and they’re a little crooked. I go, ah, they’re fine. And he’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no. So he does all the

John and Connie: We’ve got that!

Derrick and Bill: We each take the component of the business and it’s like,

and the computer stuff comes up, like, Hey, I need to do this email and send this stuff or. Set this up and it’s like, get in here.

I’m like, oh, okay. Yeah. I’m the IT guy. All right. The geek, yeah. Geek squad on call. So I’m, I’m there for that. And, uh, to, to get the technology end of the stuff going and we, we all kind of break a piece off and, and, and it works out great for us, you know, just having that and everybody kind of does that, that little piece of the pie and we, we put it together and make it happen.

You know, and then being able to talk to each other, not as like an employee boss relation dynamic is a lot easier too., you know, where you have that. And we all kind of know what needs to get done. And three of us being the owners, we know what, what the end product is. You know, our goal is to get the, get the stuff made and done and pop through.

You know, it’s, it’s very trying at times. And as, as we get going, um, We’ve had our little hiccups here and there and a lot of it’s just you know, how are we getting that? You know each little pathway that gets blocked like the uh Hobbit Honey. It was like, oh my god How are we going to recover from this?

We got to change their name. We have to do all that and they actually… I appreciate, I should send those guys a little thank you honey. And the the amount of stuff that they taught us without knowing that they were teaching us. They taught us about patents They taught us about trademarks. They taught us about all those bad things that can happen to you.

And it made us better, so we went out and patented Honey. So, all that stuff that you see that we have on our website, those tea emulsions. We actually have a pending patent that basically anything other than raw honey will fall under our patent. You can’t patent raw honey. But you can patent anything you add to it.

Anything you add to it, you can put a patent on it. So we went crazy and anything and everything that we could think of, we patented. So we have THC, CBD emulsification in honey, uh, with a single serving delivery device, which is part of our invention is that spoon. That we developed for the U S and then all the teas and like the five pepper honey and the garlic honey, all that’s patented.

And that’ll be when that becomes an enforceable part of our patent. It’s provisional right now. It usually takes a, I think my lawyer set up to eight years sometimes to get a patent all the way through it. But those valuable lessons that we learned, it was like, I should send these guys a gift basket because that set us in a trajectory instead of going,

you know what? I give up, you know, this isn’t for me, or I’m gonna not, you know, and throw a fit. We went, we’re even badder. And , it rolls right back into the name. It’s Honey Badger. We don’t care. We don’t care. We don’t care.

John and Connie: Yep.

Derrick and Bill: we don’t care.

John and Connie: I’m thinking there’s the honey badger right

Derrick and Bill: And when we, even

John and Connie: So much better name.

Derrick and Bill: when we do, yeah, when we do events and stuff like that, we have, uh, some, once in a while we have the, uh, event coordinator come up to us and say, well, I’m sorry, but I’ve got two other honey vendors here. And it’s like, we don’t care. Oh, well, sorry for that. I mean, we’ve been, we’ve been in a lot of different trade shows that, uh, we’re selling 3:1 of what everybody else is selling in the same building. So it’s, we’ve just, and that was one of our things with, uh, going from raw honey to the flavored honey.

Because if you’re only selling raw honey, I see you once every two months, maybe to come back and get another jar. But with the flavored honey, that, that little jar for a five pepper will do a set of ribs. It’ll do wings or whatever. And the next weekend you’re going to go, Hmm, I did ribs last week and I want to do chicken.

Let me go buy another one of those. So I see you maybe three times a year. No, I would say think of the five pepper too. Uh, we, we just got, um, invited to Walmart’s Open Call this year. And we have a deal with Wal Mart for the five peppers specifically. So that will be launching in our geographic area, 25 stores in October. So we’re onboarding with them now, but they’re still, they’re still talking with us about, they want to do four more.

They want to do a group, so a collection. And I said, I like the sound of that. And then I looked at that and went, Yeah, well, for more of our line, like some of our teas, , they’re looking at the blue razz, the garlic smoked, uh, the blackberry mango. And we just invented something, yet again, we can’t help ourselves. We invented badger dust, which is, uh, an all purpose seasoning dry rub that’s got honey powder in it.

And, uh, we’re just getting the labeling now, but we’ve actually sold through about 30, uh, we’ll show, I don’t know if it’ll show on the camera that well, 30 pounds of it.

John and Connie: Whoa.

Derrick and Bill: So we’re going to do hot and regular.

John and Connie: Mixing flavors and, that both acknowledge it, but also the, experimentation that comes from cooking, I think, you know, that’s kind of your secret sauce there. It’s, it’s, it’s amazing. So, I

Derrick and Bill: Well, we didn’t get these beautiful physiques that we have dieting.

John and Connie: So, you mentioned the, uh, the trust issue and, you know, working just with families. So I, now I’m getting curious about, well, the uniqueness of your products, they’re going to spread. There’s going to be more demand and you’re going to need to grow. Have you got a plan for growing and, taking in , you can’t keep growing your family, so how do you grow your business?

Derrick and Bill: Well, the first thing to start out with is we’ve got a 40 by 70 building that’s going up with a 20 by 40 kitchen in it and the rest is going to be warehouse. That’ll be starting here shortly. All right. We’re about to, yeah, we’re about to break ground on that. So we actually are trying to, , plan ahead, , for that.

And, uh, a lot of the stuff with the, to be able to keep up the volume from our, our perspective, , we’re going to keep up to a certain extent, and then we’re going to look at co packing. And of course, I’m going to be probably the crazy guy that when I do take it to a co packing setting that makes sure that the standard that I’m setting for it is maintained.

, but right now we’re going from a smaller , 10 by 20 kitchen that we have here on the farm to a full size warehouse. So we’ve actually all put that in place, , secured with, , Department of Ag to be able to do a, uh, a farm loan. And we, that was part of the success with getting that deal with Walmart.

Now we haven’t got any revenue, but we’re revenueing up right now with the farm to get ready for that and, uh, the increase in sales and the tea. Because

we don’t have enough storage room for the tea. As we make the tea, I don’t have enough room to store it. Because I have to store it refrigerated. And we’re starting to come up to that level where we just don’t have the room.

And it’s like, how do we scale? Um, and I do have kids. I have a 21-year-old and an 18-year-old. And, uh, their prospective boyfriend wants to be a son in law. Uh, I have them guys, they actually pitch in and they help me manufacture.

And produce here at the farm so I have a little bit more help to do it.

Otherwise, it’s on my days off and I work a 12 hour rotating shift. So, uh, this weekend I’m off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Then I’m back to work Monday, Tuesday. Off Wednesday, Thursday. And then I work Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It’s a flip flopper. But, uh, that being with my job absolutely allows me to have more time with family and time to get into that.

And I’m trying to keep ahead where we can do that. And now the, uh, the equipment. That we’ve actually invented, and I have China designing for me allows me to make this stuff and even bigger batches. So, basically, I have the infrastructure built now. I make a phone call. I can say, look, instead of a 40 liter, I need an 80-liter machine and I need it heat jacketed.

I need it to be able to pump and all the machinery we’re using now runs off air pressure. So, it actually emulsifies, stirs it up and then shoots it right into my jars, which is great. And I, and I’m, I’m actually manufacturing, uh, we, we, we always say, what did we say? We’re like, we’re, we’re in the big boy world, but we’re not really big boys.

And it’s the same thing when we stepped into the Walmart arena. It’s like, Oh, we really stepped into deep into the pool and not know how to swim. and they’re like, where do you guys come from? What are you, what are you doing here? Uh, you’re, you’re not supposed to be here. And I was like, well, yeah, we know what we’re doing.

Hey, we’re, we’re good. We’re good. We got this here, try this. Oh my God, that’s excellent. Yeah, we can scale that. Well, how are you gonna scale it? I said, no, no, no. Don’t worry about that. I’ll, I’ll scale it. And, uh, you know, some of the prohibitive things in the US and what we find in the food industry and, you know, having a restaurant years ago too.

is cost prohibitive. Um, and I see it even in the honey industry with beekeeping and bee supplies is you’ll go to, uh, get a specific equipment or specialized equipment and it’s astronomical, the pricing on it in the U. S. I can get on the phone and they’re a 12-hour difference than us. I can get on the phone tonight at 8, 8 o’clock at night, it’s 8 in their morning.

And I can get on the computer and I can message my girl number one, and she goes, Hey, Derek, you’re number one. Me love you long time. And I got another machine coming, not a problem, more than happy to help me. , And the same machine that I can get that would be built in the U S would be 10, 15, 000. And it would be something that would be modified and it would probably come from them originally.

And somebody in the U S would stick a sticker on it and say they did it. You know, and that’s a huge thing. And we found in our industry, um, like ball glass, they’re not made in the U S anymore, and it’s very sad that the companies and stuff that were part of the U S and they’re not made, um, there is a, there’s a headquarters, they don’t make the components, they don’t make the glass and they don’t make the lids.

So everything is sourced from China and we had to adapt like, uh, we were using container companies. here in the U. S. And the plastic, the same plastic bottle that I can get here is almost over a dollar. And a lot of people don’t realize that when you’re buying commodities and buying products that the cost associated for me to put that honey into a jar is over a dollar, you know, just to put everything in there to put my label on there to put the seal on there just to get to that point is costing me.

And then they don’t understand why would you be sourcing overseas or something like that? Because that same bottle I can go to 30 cents a unit. And I can bring in 4, 000 of those and they’re more than happy to do anything I need. Now I have to wait 45 days because of the shipping, you know, coming overseas, but I can land that same product.

And then I, you know, it’s upsetting in the U S because you go to a company that’s called all American containers or something like that, or U.S. Plastic. But at the end result, I’m talking to the person that’s making that this shipping it over here in cargo containers. To them they’re they’re they’re putting you know, putting the price up, you know capitalism at its finest They’re they’re popping the price up to make money off of that and it’s like it’s I said, it’s not manufactured here. They go,

oh, no, no. No It’s over there. I’m like, so why don’t I just go to who’s making it? And then you know, that’s a challenge with uh with the business and we’ve we’ve found that in that space you know with the bees is to overcome a lot of that cost and Then I can give you a better product at the end without You Really pushing our, our cost up there.

And that hurts. Yeah, because we haven’t changed our prices since we got involved in the commercial end of it, which is 1920 or 2020, excuse me. 2020. 1920. 2020. When we first started out,

John and Connie: going to say, you’re looking pretty good.

Derrick and Bill: just before the covid. I mean, we actually, and we were one of the. Few places that actually done well during the COVID.

COVID actually accelerated us. Yeah. So that actually gave us, uh, you know, people, we, people really

John and Connie: yeah, the health

Derrick and Bill: about farm to table. They started thinking,

John and Connie: Okay.

Derrick and Bill: yeah. And all the benefits that you get, the health benefits you get from using natural products, you know, and we’ve continued that, you know, we, we still have our hiccups here and there and it’s always growing pains.

And, uh, we’re, we’re always worried about when do we take that next step or should we take that step? You know, as we bounce in, you know, you have the multimillion dollar companies that can throw money out, you know, like they’re in a strip club. We don’t have that luxury. You know, we really have to worry about, you know, where our next and plan and for, and focus on what we’re doing.

And so far we we’ve, we’ve made great choices. You know, we’ve made a few bad ones here and there. We’ve, we’ve had our fingers crossed a lot of times.

John and Connie: Sure.

Derrick and Bill: we got payments coming up and is this going to work out? We just spent what we shouldn’t have spent and, and it’s like, we’ve been lucky so far. It, it worked out.

And we, we, we’ve been real busy here lately just trying to keep up with the product. And then, , this is swarm season for us beekeepers. So, our phone is, , literally ringing off the hook with, I got bee swarm in my tree. I got them in my garbage can. I got them in my water box. I got them all over. And, uh, it’s like, oh, okay, let me see if I can get out there.

And we’re, we’re going out and still continuing that, that mission of rescuing the hives and, and pulling them in. And then we get some commercial contracts where it’s in a playhouse. And we had a massive one that we just did here recently. There was three hives and one little playhouse shed that was out, uh, the realtor was selling the house and they needed it removed and it was, it was crazy.

That took us, what, about four or five hours to get it up? That was a lot of bees.

Probably about, uh, 500, about that on between what we had seen. Yeah. Yeah, we’ve been, that would have been the one with the big round piece of comb. Yeah, the comb was like, it was like almost three foot. It was huge. And that was just one piece.

There was five of them on each side that they had built out. It was absolutely massive. One of the biggest ones we’ve seen. Seen in a while, especially three codependent hives like that because it’s not one There’s each individual had a queen.

John and Connie: Okay, so I wanted to, this has been fascinating. We need to unfortunately wrap up. How can people find you, I’m guessing that you ship nationwide, is that accurate?

Derrick and Bill: Yes, we’re on we have our own website honey badgers bee farm dot com which is just our name super simple We’re actually on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart dot com Mammoth Nation Uh, a few others that are, that are on there in between, and uh, not only does that give you an online link in there, or you can come directly to our farm link at honeybadgersbeefarm. com. And uh, we ship nationwide, and we actually ship out of the U. S. I do have customers overseas that also buy from us, not pricey, but it does, we do ship. And, uh, that’s available on our website. And then if you’re in our local area, we pretty much, uh, have, um, probably a hundred mile range around us where we’re in stores right now.

And then we’re, we’re hoping to expand. We’re always looking for more partners and more people that believe in the mission and what we do. , Not only, you know, rescuing bees and making cool honey. And then we like to bring the kids out to the farm too, homeschoolers. And, uh, allow them to go barehanded and touch the bees.

We want to have that, that connection where, where your food comes from. And we’re actually talking to local farmers here in the area too as we go around. I get to talk to the local guys that are making blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, you know, and, and are making the peppers and stuff. They’re growing them.

Those are the guys. You know, we don’t charge, uh, our farmers for the pollination service. We usually do a bartering system. We say, hook us up with some peppers. I need some garlic. I need some, uh, blueberries. You know, and we make sure we take care of each other. You know, the, the industry now is hard enough in agriculture.

So, we try to help everybody out as we go around. It helps our bees out, too, because they’re out there getting, uh, delicious nectar and pollen right off the farm.

John and Connie: Excellent. Wonderful. Okay. So you’re in Brooksville, Florida. So if people are in the Tampa, greater Tampa Bay area or central Florida area, they find you Brooksville. And like said, um, people homeschooling, uh, or, or you’ve got tours, you’ve got tours of the apiary. You’ve got, you do some basic beekeeping classes, I think one on one. beekeeping one on one.

Derrick and Bill: Yep, you want to learn how to bee keep you can come out we’ll

John and Connie: website is,

Derrick and Bill: Plethora It’s a plethora of things. That was the geek. That’s the geek squad. That’s that’s the geek squad I built that built the website So to make it to make it enter, uh, you know where you can interact with it And we actually have a store here on the farm too. So During the week you can come out and actually we have a little shop and you can come in and see everything that we make And then where it’s made and if you want to see where your honey’s actually made You We have hives here on the property.

Our, uh, breeders are here. You can actually see bees when you come to buy your honey.

John and Connie: think we need a road trip. think we do. Connie’s allergic to bees, so we’ve got a little bit of, uh,

Derrick and Bill: We put you in a suit.

John and Connie: If she gets stung, she needs an EpiPen.

Derrick and Bill: You’re covered up. You got a hat. You got a jacket and everything. We put you in a full suit.

John and Connie: I’m also thinking you guys have got a market for corporate gifs because of the of your stuff. You know, people that are, that are, um, you know, in a, in an environment where they’ve got, you know, like, I don’t know, financial advisors, you know, people that are dealing with, you know, high, high ticket clients and they’re spending a lot of money with them or, or they’re, you know, managing a lot of money.

They send, yeah, realtors, they send gifts, you know, uh, and Connie looked at your site yesterday and I hadn’t shown it to her before and she was going crazy last night. Oh my God, we’re ordering this. Oh my God. So I think, uh, you know,

Derrick and Bill: Well, what we,

John and Connie: are probably already on top of that.

Derrick and Bill: Yeah, what we had actually hoped about was the fact that the, uh, the Airbnb, we could attach to them guys for the, uh, our spoons, simply because that is a cup of coffee, it is a cup of tea, and all it is, is a little, it sits on the countertop or hangs on a hook. And it’s in the room.

We’re trying to make that portable,

John and Connie: is so

Derrick and Bill: know, there’s everything in business. It’s hard to get your, your foot in the door. Unless you know somebody. Our, our, our foot hurts because, you know, and so, so do your fingers when you’re trying to grab the door to keep them from slamming it on you, you know, but the, you know, it’s keeps trugging along and, and we keep having doors open for us finally.

Uh, you know, it’s, it’s difficult being that small family business, you know, go to a retailer and said, Hey, I got a real awesome product. Yeah. Yeah, get out of here. I want to hear about that. And then you’ll have another one that finds us at a trade show that got a chance to try it and went, That is awesome.

I would like that in my store. No brainer. Super easy. And we, we get in. But, you know, that’s the best thing you can tell for being a family business. And being a business is you’re, you’re going to get the door slammed on you. You’re going to catch your fingers in it. You’re going to catch your foot in it.

Um, you may, you may get your feelings hurt, but that’s why Hardy Badgers don’t care. But there’s always going to be out of those a hundred doors that shut. There’s going to be that one that pops open and it may not be the one that we were

John and Connie: and all you need is one.

Derrick and Bill: Walmart to say yes, we went through four meetings and the last meeting, the guy went and he’s, he’s digging around in the jar.

He goes, I want this, we’re not going any further. I’m like, Oh God, did we just lose all the deals? And they went, no, no, no. I want this in the store. And he said, can you handle 25 stores? I’m like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And we’re trying not to dance. We were, we were on a zoom. Talking and it was like, we’re trying not to dance and I’m, I’m hitting him and going, we’re just, we’re talking about the deal.

And, uh, you know, afterwards we’re dancing around in the kitchen. I don’t know if those people know that. I mean, that, that feeling, then when you’re doing business with a small business and you have that success, it’s like, we’re dancing, we’re like, Whoa, we’re valid. We’re real beekeepers. We’re real honeymakers.

You know, it pretty much justifies everything you’re trying to do.

John and Connie: Exactly.


Derrick and Bill: stuff.

John and Connie: Yes, and it is so important to celebrate that. Well, and that’s a perfect wrap for celebrating small family businesses. We are so happy that we contacted you and that we got to do this. We look forward to celebrating you and helping promote your business. And, um, look forward to future conversations. I, I see you. There’s so much we didn’t talk about. Right. But thank you so much again!

Derrick and Bill: That’s why I said people usually throw things at me and tell me to stop. Then we haven’t gotten to the bee, the bee aspect of it. But, uh, yeah, we appreciate you having us on. We, we love that. And yeah, really cool. We, we love doing it and we go out and we try to talk to people and mentor and help people as much, you know, as much as you can, you got to give back what you put out, you know, if you’re having success, talk to people.

John and Connie: Well, I hope that all of our present and future listeners will at least visit your website. Absolutely. Fonts of information about bees and beekeeping and honey. Oh my never thought nothing flavors So if you like food and flavors, gotta check it That’s right. That’s honeybadgersbeefarm.com

Derrick and Bill: Yep. real short and simple, like a honey badger.

John and Connie: There you go. Well, thank

Derrick and Bill: might see us out there da something, something weird

John and Connie: Fabulous. You’re not afraid to dance on TikTok.

Thank you again for being with us and sharing your life with us and uh, we look forward to having more conversations

Derrick and Bill: Definitely. We do too.

John and Connie: Good

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