Burke's Honey got its start in 1909, three generations ago, as part of a farming operation near Omemee, Ontario.
Grandfather Huber Burke, as a young man, became interested in bees by watching his uncle operate his. Grandpa bought his first beehive in 1908, but there was no honey production that year.
1909 saw a good year, with surplus honey being produced. He went to the local tinsmith and had some pails made. These he filled with honey, and made his first sales to the neighbours.
Over the following years the number of beehives increased. He started supplying all the local stores, and if there was still honey left over, he shipped it to the Ontario Honey Producers Co-operative in Toronto.
They sold the honey from their members under the Beekist brand.
All four of his sons kept bees for a time, but it was Douglas Burke (father of current owner, Brian Burke) who took over the business. He continued to increase the number of beehives, and made a real effort to increase the number of stores supplied, making it unnecessary to send bulk honey to the co-op. In fact, they were selling more honey than they could produce, so they started buying honey from other local beekeepers who had extra, to meet the demand.
By 1978, the business had grown to the point where Douglas needed full time help. Brian was working at the University of Guelph as a technician in Environmental Biology, when Douglas approached him to return home and give a helping hand. At 17, Brian had thought he'd seen enough bees to last him a lifetime, but a few years had given some perspective, so together with his wife, he accepted the offer and returned home.
Our primary focus is to supply quality honey and maple syrup to retail grocery trade, health food industry, food service distributors, and bakery trade in Canada. Our sales are handled in house, and through independent regional distributors. Our honey is carefully selected for purity, flavour and colour.