Barter Economy: That Honey In Your Cocktail May Come From a Hive in Silver Lake

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Photo by Van Truan via Shutterstock

Silver Lake couple Russell Bates and Amy Seidenwurm didn't aim to start a business bartering honey, but when the couple got into chemical-free beekeeping and wound up with 60 pounds of delicious honey from their backyard, they decided to share the goods with their neighbors. That included local bars, cafes and restauranteurs.

Now you can find Feral Honey at Village Baker & Cafe in Atwater Village, on the cheese plate at Bar Covell in Los Feliz and in cocktails at Barbrix in Silver Lake.

Bates shared his beekeeping story over at Boing Boing. His neighbor Kirk Anderson taught him how to become a beekeeper without relying on harmful chemicals.

Beekeeping, along with other more typically rural pursuits like raising chickens and planting edible gardens, is becoming more popular as a part of the urban homesteading movement. (Beekeeping isn't technically legal in city limits, although a Mar Vista couple spurred on by Santa Monica's example is pushing to legalize it.)

But urban beekeepers actually have several advantage over their rural counterparts, Bates says. Rural areas are doused with pesticides, they don't offer the same variety of plants as cities and the bees don't have to be trucked in to Los Angeles — they're already here, Bates says.

Bates explains why he and his wife brave stings to get something they could get from a plastic honey bear:

Beekeeping isn’t all unicorns and rainbows: we’ve had our share of stings, and every hive’s temperament is different. But if you’re forearmed with some knowledge and a few tools, it’s a great low-maintenance way of taking a bit more responsibility for your food, improving your (and your neighbor’s) garden, and stoking out your friends with the occasional treat. Sharing honey around is a great way to connect with your neighborhood.