Danielle Brooks loves drinking tea – especially with honey. One day, she had the thought of how awesome it would be to have her own hive from which to harvest.
Her interest piqued, Danielle set out to determine just what it would take to make her own honey. So, she checked out every book available from the library and learned all she could about bees and keeping them. She prepped her property including jumping through hoops to keep them in her deed-restricted community.
Once the stage was set, Danielle added her name to a list to get a beehive. And she waited. She likens the experience to an adoption. She says, “You can only prepare to a certain extent and then you just wait for the call that your beehive is in.”
In April 2016, Danielle adopted her first hive. It was placed in her trunk and she drove her babies home jumping in head-first with no experience.
Later that year, she and her husband traveled to North Carolina and stopped at a small local store selling honey and hive products. “I remember thinking how awesome something like that would be in in St. Augustine,” explains Danielle. However, since you can only harvest honey once per year and brick-and-mortar stores have to supply honey year-round, they have to outsource from other beekeepers to keep up with the demand.
Upon returning home, Danielle began her burgeoning business, The Honey Truck Company, with the idea of bottling honey from bees that lived in St. Augustine. Since hers is a mobile business, Danielle is able to sell honey when she has it, and has an “off season” when she runs out.
This keeps Danielle true to providing exclusively hyper-local honey. While many sell “local” honey, Danielle points out that local often means 20 to 30 miles outside of town. “You can’t find honey made within the City of St. Augustine.” Well, at least you couldn’t until The Honey Truck Company came on the scene.
Hyper-local honey is an amazing combatant for allergies and an incredible defense against local irritants. While the Honey Truck Company’s honey is hyper-local, it’s still diverse. Two hives next to each other can produce completely different honey depending on where they are pollinating. Danielle asks, “St. Augustine is such an amazing city… who wouldn’t want to try the diversity of the oldest city’s landscape?”
Today, Honey Truck Company has beehives strategically placed all over St. Augustine. Danielle cares for the bees, harvests the honey and sells it out of a bright red vintage 1963 Ford Econoline truck. She loves driving the resurrected piece of history around the nation’s oldest city.
Danielle has moved past the days of self-teaching at the library and now holds the title of Apprentice Beekeeper. She also is earning her Master Craftsman Beekeeper certification through the University of Florida.
Find out where The Honey Truck Co. is going to set up next by joining their mailing list at www.honeytruck.co or follow them on Instagram @honeytruckco. And be sure to visit the bright red truck at Made in St. Augustine to purchase your hyper-local honey, honey pops, beeswax wraps and lip balm. Danielle will also share her expertise in a private workshop during the festival. Participants will learn about beekeeping, honey and even make honey products to take home.