Sweet Nectar

Becker family buzzes around all things bees

By Gabrielle Myers
September 2022

Honey swims thick and clear against my tongue. Golden drops, pure as the flowers that feed the bees, coat my throat. Translucent honey of various shades—amber, brown, caramel—lands on spoon after spoon.

From the fennel and bottlebrush tang of wildflower honey to the fruit tint of blackberry and blueberry blossom honey to hints of coffee in Kauai honey, each variety represents a distinct and pure distillation of the flowers that initiate the nectar and pollen.

With more than nine varieties of honey, The Bee Box on J Street in East Sacramento stands tall as the place in Northern California for honey lovers and locavores interested in sustaining our robust regional agricultural production.

Without bees, we would not have many fruits, nuts and vegetables, including seeds from our greens and grapes for our wines.

Everything in agriculture depends on this little creature’s magical food-making process.

With concerns for bee health and survival, our intimate connection and dependence on these prodigious pollinators are ever more apparent.

The Becker family of beekeepers, which owns and runs The Bee Box, has carried the torch and served local bees and farmers since 1920.

Jeff Becker, head beekeeper, works alongside his father Jerry, who taught him the business. The next generation—the fourth in the beekeeper trade—is busy learning the ropes, represented by Jeff’s son Jace. Jeff’s brother Mark handles the financial side of the business.

When asked what he loves most about his work, Jeff says, “I get to do something I love every day with my family, which is very important to me. I love dealing with farmers and agriculture. Farmers are the most honest, hardworking and down-to-earth people you will ever meet.”

The Beckers have a large spread of more than 10,000 local hives in the Sacramento area and another 6,000 hives on Hawaii’s Kauai island. The family is reluctant to provide details about hive locations and there’s good reason for security. Despite the dangers of getting stung, hive thieves exist and can be difficult to catch.

The Bee Box’s local wildflower honey offers essential natural relief to Sacramento residents suffering from seasonal allergies. Honey is especially good for human immune systems.

The Bee Box supports local beekeepers through bee sales, offering 3 pounds of Italian and Carniolan honey bees with a queen every spring. The store stocks an assortment of beekeeping supplies and hosts forums for beekeepers to learn from the Beckers and network with each other.

The Bee Box also offers a variety of craft products by local artisans. A local beehive-maker, artist, illustrator and beekeeper, Stuart Ratcliff, sells his special horizontal hives at The Bee Box.

The Beckers don’t have a secret answer to the question of how best to enjoy honey. They savor it just like the rest of us, drizzling their nectar on food or adding it to tea.

With their commitment to bee health and knowledge sharing with our community, the Becker family elevates the caretaking of bees to the highest possible level.

Visit The Bee Box at 4765 J St. or thebeebx.com.

Gabrielle Myers can be reached at gabriellemyers11@gmail.com. Her latest book of poetry, “Too Many Seeds,” can be ordered from fishinglinepress.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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