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Artisanal Beekeeper Gets the Buzz

Marina Marchese had no intention of becoming a purveyor of artisanal honey when she moved to Weston 15 years ago. A classically trained painter and successful illustrator and designer, she was introduced to the mysterious world of the honeybee in a totally serendipitous way.

"My neighbor was a beekeeper and he asked me if I wanted to come over and meet his honeybees," she said. At first she was nervous, but as she watched the bees she became mesmerized. "After that I was hooked."

Marchese started Red Bee Honey on Lyons Plain Road just over a decade ago. The company specializes in what she calls "unique nectar sources" – producing seasonal honeys that are available in only select quantities. "Everything I do is very limited, 10 to 20 gallons, and that's it," she said.

Red Bee Honey’s diverse flavors are the result of the   variety of nectar sources. From the nutty, tobacco-hinted sweetness of her buckwheat honey to the earth-scented delicacy of her pumpkin honey, there is no shortage of surprise tastes in her flavor arsenal.

"Every time you get honey from a grocery store, it all tastes the same,” she says, “but that's not nature. Nature's not that way. Each year is different, so each year the honey is different."

Marchese's goal is to bring about revolutionary changes in  the popular perception of honey. She does this by partnering with other beekeepers and holding honey tastings where she pairs honeys with cheeses. She is also certified by the American Apitherapy Society and is considered a honey sommelier.

Her company also produces a line of all-natural skincare products, lip balms, creams, oils and beeswax candles. When she has the time, Marchese writes for trade publications, and she recently published a book  titled "Honeybee: Lessons From an Accidental Beekeeper."

"People are fascinated by the honey tastings. They're honey crazy."

Do you ever buy honey from a farmers' market? If so, why? If not, why not?

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