The middle aged man at the Puyallup Fair never expected that his six words would transform an 8th graders life: “You can keep bees in Seattle.” Peter looked wistfully at his parents, but he already had backyard chickens and homework, so his parents told him, “Not now.” So he would keep watching ant hills and continue his fascination with social insects. It wasn’t until he was back in Seattle after college and adventuring that he started pondering those words from the Puyallup Fair. He started reading mason bee books but quickly admitted he also wanted tasty honey to eat.
A grandmother-figure in his life offered to buy Peter his first hive, and a Facebook friend in Phinney responded to his plea of “who is stupid enough to let me have my first beehive in your backyard.” Because, when you’re in an apartment, and your balcony is already full of tomatoes, where do you put a beehive but someone else’s yard? Well, and if he has one…he of course needs a couple more. So up the rickety staircase he went to the roof of his work in Fremont with a few more hives. All the while reading and researching and learning as much as he could.
Of course, Peter’s new love of beekeeping came around the same time he married Amy Beth, so she was quickly conscripted into helping. And as they tended hives in Phinney and Fremont they tasted the amazing honey and were surprised at the taste. The neighborhoods tasted completely different, and the honey was more complex than anything they’d ever had. They were hooked.
It took a couple years but they finally found one name they both could agree on, Rainy Day Bees. Both Amy Beth and Peter grew up in Seattle, and, even though they’re natives, actually do like umbrellas. I know, hard to believe. So a small company was born and they started selling their honey at the Shoreline Farmers Market, and kept getting request for hive hosts.
Finally, it was time to take the plunge. In 2016 Peter partly quite his job, and in 2017 he went full-time beekeeper. Every evening and weekend filled up with honey bottling and farmers markets. Now in 2018 they are in five neighborhoods in North Seattle and Shoreline, breed bees at Jubilee Farm in Carnation, and sell neighborhood honey, candles and bees at Shoreline, Lake City and University District Farmers Markets. Come on by and say hi – they love to talk bees!