With just days left on the countdown to Christmas, and even with the best of intentions, you may find yourself needing a few last-minute stocking stuffers. If that’s the case, Marie’s Bees owner Marisa Papetti is ready to help.

Looking for a stocking stuffer? The honey lollipops from Marie’s Bees is a unique sweet treat. Photo courtesy Marie’s Bees

Papetti launched Marie’s Bees after falling in love with beekeeping after helping a friend tend to her bees. Papetti sources honey from not just her own small collection of hives, but also from beekeepers throughout northwestern Washington, including Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish Counties.

In the first few years of the business, Papetti did lots of speaking engagements to educate both young and old on the importance of the honeybee to our ecosystem. She also had fun creating new products in her commercial kitchen, but didn’t have much time to devote to her culinary alchemy as she was so busy with her speaking gigs.

This year, as COVID-19 forced her to step back from community outreach, she’s been able to devote more time to coming up with new culinary creations.  

“I’ve been cooking and baking since I was about seven,” she says. “I really love coming up with new recipes.”

Made with Holmquist Hazelnuts from Lynden, the Chopped Hazelnuts & Honey is excellent on toast or paired with brie. Photo courtesy Marie’s Bees

Among her favorites of the new products are the Creamed Cinnamon & Honey and the Creamed Hot & Honey, based on the Nashville style of spices.

“It is REALLY hot,” she says. “It is not for the faint of heart.” 

She says it’s great for grilling on chicken or vegetables. “And my nephew likes to dip his french fries in it,” she adds.

“Our most successful newbie is the honey oxymel,” Papetti says. It’s an old recipe featuring raw honey, local Apple State apple cider vinegar, elderberry, rose hips, cloves and black pepper. This old-time curative recipe from her grandmother is said to be great for alleviating heartburn. Papetti says people enjoy the oxymel added to soda water for a non-alcoholic cocktail, as a salad dressing, or to sip straight up.

For those a little less adventurous in their search for stocking stuffers, Papetti says the honeycomb candy made with Marie’s Bees honey by Evolve Chocolate is a Christmastime favorite that sells out every year. New favorites also include honey sticks and honey lollipops. 

The chocolate-covered “honey comb” candy made in partnership with Evolve Chocolate is a customer favorite. Photo courtesy Marie’s Bees

And if you have a hard-core honey enthusiast in your life, you might consider giving the Marie’s Bees Honey Pot. The glass honey pot is imported from Spain and holds more than a pound of honey. Each purchase of a honey pot comes with a membership to the Honey Pot Club, which entitles the owner to a 30% discount on all online orders, as well as additional perks.

To help make your last-minute Christmas giving even easier, Papetti will be busy as a bee delivering local orders up until 8:00 p.m on Christmas Eve. And delivery is always free for orders in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. Order online at mariesbees.com/shop.

When buying Marie’s Bees products, customers are supporting the other local businesses and farms she partners with to create her products.

“We collaborate with local beekeepers and also local companies like Evolve, Holmquist Hazelnuts and Em’s Herbals,” Papetti says. “Each jar is really taking care of about seven families right now.”

Honey Oxymel is one of Marie’s Bees new products, and is based on an old family recipe. Photo courtesy Marie’s Bees

Caring for the environment is another part of the Marie’s Bees ethos. The honey is chemical-free, meaning no chemicals are used to treat the bees or the hives. 

Papetti explains that honey can’t receive an “organic” designation in the United State because “you can’t keep bees on leashes” as they fly up to seven miles from their hive in search of pollen. 

Another way the company strives to be kind to the environment is by keeping packaging out of the waste stream. Papetti offers a $2 bill for bottle returns directly to Marie’s Bees.

While you may be thinking of honey as a tasty gift right now, Papetti wants to remind us that honey is also a great natural remedy for allergies—and allergy season will be here before we know it.

Honey local to an individual’s geographic region is an excellent way to inoculate yourself against seasonal allergies, Papetti explains. “Local for us means anywhere from the Lower Mainland B.C. to northern Oregon.”  

Bellingham’s Marie’s Bees offers a collection of PNW honey. Photo courtesy Marie’s Bees

Papetti often gets notes from her customers raving about the fact that taking a spoonful of honey each day has made a huge difference in alleviating their seasonal allergies.

“You build up that allergy tolerance,” she says, “because you’re eating the pollen from the trees and the plants around you.”

So here’s to a sweet Christmas season—and fewer sniffles next allergy season—with Marie’s Bees.

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