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The New (sustainable) Boston Honey Co. Headquarters

by Hannah Catlin
June 1, 2019

Evan Reseska, Andy's son, holds Boston Honey Company's hardest workers. 

It was raining the morning I visited Boston Honey Company’s new location at the corner of Chestnut Street and Wedgewood Drive. It’s been a rainy spring season and indeed the rainiest 12 months in U.S. history. For owner Andy Reseska and his bees, it’s been a tough few months.

That day, he was preparing to spend the afternoon doing an emergency feed at his hives across the state. Because bees can’t forage in the rain, continuous inclement weather poses a starvation risk to the colonies.

“Times are supposed to be good right now in terms of forage,” Reseska said. “It’s supposed to be a good time of year [but] it’s not.”

Bees, Reseska said, are extremely sensitive to the changing climate. Not only can unpredictable weather prevent regular hive behavior, but as seasons shift and global temperatures change, it becomes more and more difficult for bees to adjust alongside them.

“I think the honey bee today, is similar to the canary in the coal mine,” he said. “When you’re looking at issues with bees, we are seeing [the] changes in the environment. When you start to have changes in the environment, it starts to affect our ability to do our job in terms of [providing] pollination to farmers because of the growing season.

“If apples are starting to bloom earlier in the season, then… those apple growers are going to need bees that are strong enough and ready to do a pollination service,” he continued. “That [growing] cycle cannot change so fast. It needs planning, and we’re adapting to a changing environment.”

Unfortunately, bees are extremely temperature sensitive. Some studies have shown an increase in overall hive temperature to have fatal effects in a colony.

The connection between the health of Reseska’s bees and the environment was part of the inspiration for the energy-efficient design of the new building.

Hollistonians who enjoy walks on the western sections of the rail trail might recall the building’s bright blue roof, which was recently shingled over. But it wasn’t the roof that made the building one of a kind. When it’s complete — likely in late summer or early fall — it will be the only Holliston business run on geothermal energy.

As far as we could see The Boston Bee [Honey] Co. is the only commercial property with geothermal,” Holliston Building Department Administrative Assistant Lisa Kirby wrote in an email to HollistonReporter.com. “There are a handful of residential properties as well.”

Harnessing geothermal energy means tapping into the natural heat energy in the earth, which has a relatively stable surface temperature. Geothermal pumps harness this heat energy and use it to heat and cool buildings like Reseska’s.

Because the Earth maintains a surface temperature of between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, geothermal energy can be used to both heat the building during the winter and cool it during the summer.

To build the geothermal system, Reseska applied for and received grants from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program.

The roof at Boston Honey Company is also built to support a full solar array and the insulation is specifically designed to prevent “energy leaks.”

“With the building itself, what we are doing is to make a building that’s as efficient energy-wise as possible,” Reseska said. “Right now, we’re 40 percent above commercial energy code.

“The goal is to really try to get down to net zero, meaning… all your cost to heat and cool and run the building is offset by renewable energy,” he continued.

Built in the vision of the company’s values, the new building will serve as the heart of Boston Honey Company’s operation.

The space will double as a manufacturing facility and a retail outfit. Employees will gather the honey produced from Reseska’s colonies — including those on site — make candles and bottled honey, package them and then sell those products in the store.

“The building is being built for what we need as a business,” Reseska said. “It’s really a function of being efficient, of bringing in honey supers and being able to extract in an efficient, cost-effective way.

“Then, in terms of bottling, we’ll have a bottling space that will be for bottling honey, cutting honeycomb, packaging honey products — things like that — as well as a wax candle making space,” he continued.

Customers will be able to purchase these products in the store, which will feature prominently a glass-encased hive to serve as a learning tool for visitors, school groups and potential beekeepers.

Evan Reseska, Andy’s son, operates Boston Honey Company’s location in the city — a smaller version of what’s in the works for Holliston. He looks forward to opening the doors of the new site and giving visitors a glimpse into their operation.

“Here [in Holliston], we can actually show what we do,” Evan said.

His father hopes to one day sell honey ice cream, to draw rail-trail goers in during the summer months.

Once the business is open to the public, observant visitors might notice a variety of lumber used to build out the retail space. Each type of wood represents one of the company’s bases across the east coast.

The cyprus wood porch represents the bees’ wintering location in Georgia, the custom exposed beams in the double-height ceiling are eastern white pine from Massachusetts and additional wood was brought in from farms where the company operates in upstate New York.

From post to beam, the building is Reseska’s brainchild and a dream a long time coming.

“It’s been in my head for probably 10 years,” Reseska said.

Reseska and representatives of Middlesex Savings at the project groundbreaking. August '18.

Evan and Andy Reseska in front of the building. May '19.

 

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Comments (5)

Congrats to the Reseska family and I'd like to say that this might be one of the best articles I've read on the HR. We need more of this. Well done!

- Jimmy Garafolo | 6/2/19 8:51 PM

Glad to see that a great local business is growing, and in such an environmentally responsible way. I always buy Boston Honey at Arcadian Farm. I look forward to Honey ice cream on the rail trail!

- Laura Albro | 6/2/19 1:39 PM

Awesome! I look forward to not having to make trips into the city to get the great products of Boston Honey, and support a former classmate!

- Steven Colantonio | 6/2/19 1:55 AM

So happy to hear of this new business in town!

Honey is so naturally healthy, a grey substitute for sugar and helps with developing immunity to certain allergies! And- it tastes great in our tea!

Congratulations Reseska family! Best of success to you all!!

- Melissa Ford | 6/1/19 4:06 PM

Congratulation to Andy, Evan and team. A great business and great investment in Holliston.

- Shaw Lively | 6/1/19 9:51 AM

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