Former employees bring Babe’s Honey back

Historic local brand produced in Saanichton, sold in Saanich

Babe’s Honey co-owners Brendan Bull

A familiar name is creating buzz around Saanich.

After a tumultuous year in the spotlight for criminal allegations against its former owner, Babe’s Honey is back on the bright side. In fact, the historic local brand never really went away.

The honey farm’s former operations manager, Brandon Schwartz, along with friends and former employees, bought the Babe’s Honey trademark and recently relaunched the brand

“We never stopped (working),” Schwartz said. “We just kept on going, but there was a massive amount of work to do. We weren’t exactly sure how things were going to take shape so we tried to keep things nice and quiet. We figured when we were ready, we’d let everybody know what we’ve been doing.”

The new Babe’s team – Kevin Van Herwaarden, Brendan Bull, Schwartz’ father Bob Schwartz and queen bee breeder Bob Mitchell – have 170 bee colonies on the Saanich Peninsula. Babe’s is operating from a bee-tight building (no bees can fly out, and no unwanted bees can come in) in Saanichton, as well as in the retail space at Galey Farms, where their products are sold.

Babe’s went into receivership in February 2011 following the December 2010 arrest of former owner Mark Pitcher of Pitcher & Associates Public Accountants Inc. Pitcher was accused of seven counts of fraud over $5,000, totalling $956,945.

It is alleged that between April 1, 2004 and May 19, 2010, Pitcher told clients they owed money to the Receiver General of Canada and used the funds to finance either Babe’s Honey Farm or his accounting firm.

Joiner Sales Corp. of Abbotsford submitted a winning bid and took possession of the farm’s assets last May, but before the auction took place, Joiner sold the bees and the brand to Schwartz, for an undisclosed price.

Babe’s is experiencing about a 12-per-cent death rate among bees. With recent losses on Vancouver Island of upwards of 30 per cent, Schwartz is hopeful for the season ahead.

“This year we’re going to have a really good crop,” Schwartz said. “The bees are in really good shape this year.”

The public response to the Babe’s revival has been “overwhelmingly positive,” he added.

“That’s a common comment we get: ‘We missed Babe’s Honey and we’re glad you’re back.’ … We’re not looking at the past now. We’re looking to the future,” Schwartz said.

Babe’s honey (bottled and in bulk), soap and candles are available daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Galey Farms store, 4150 Blenkinsop Rd. Babe’s vinegar will soon be added to the list of products available.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich allows retail sale of recreational cannabis for specific zones

Amendments to the 2003 bylaw allows retail sale of recreational cannabis in Saanich

Saanich seeks contractors for Shelbourne Street upgrade project

The three-phase project is expected to begin in 2020

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

Food truck pilot program in Saanich parks gets the green light from council

Pilot program will see food trucks permited in certain parks as early as next summer

Cannabis cultivation: Former North Saanich chicken farm goes into pot

North Saanich would join a small, growing number of communities with marijuana growing

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Dec. 10

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Most Read