Honeybee Edibles: The fruits of labor
Proper Cannabis has established itself as one of Missouri’s premier homegrown brands. A cultivation operation that puts out some of the state’s best flower and a variety of cultivars, dispensary spaces with knowledgable staff and sleek design, and some crowd-pleasing concentrates and manufactured products. Proper has flourished with consistency and quality, but also innovation.
Perhaps the most successful of Proper’s endeavors was the creation of its chef-driven line of edibles, Honeybee Edibles.
Helmed by St. Louis mainstay, Chef Dave Owens, the Founder of Terrine and the man behind the beloved Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier brand for over a decade. Chef Owens serves as Director of Culinary for Honeybee, where he and his team create some of the best candies and chocolates found anywhere in the state, they just happen to be infused with a healthy dose of medical cannabis. Entering the new year, Chef Owens and the team at Honeybee have announced that they are expanding the medical qualities of their products – introducing a new high potency line.
Greenway recently spoke to Chef Owens about making an impact on culinary cannabis.
Unlike many of the tastemakers in the industry, cannabis wasn’t a passion for the chef, instead Owns says, cannabis was crossroads of opportunity and creativity. With over 40 years of experience in the culinary world, Chef Owens found himself at the precipice of a new industry.
Owens was approached by a group who had planned to develop space in the facility shared by Bissinger’s, with no former experience in cannabis, but a plethora of knowledge, ChefOwens plunged himself into the exploration phase. When those applications weren’t awarded licenses, Owens sought opportunities elsewhere.
“Cannabis was where things were going to be happening,” the Chef said. “It was the next big thing, and I felt this was something I needed to be involved with.”
While Owens didn’t come from a cannabis background, he always felt that the plant had an undeservedly harsh reputation. “It wasn’t this ‘demon weed’ it was portrayed to be, I knew that.”
As he learned and explored the key to success was treating cannabis as another ingredient, he said.
“There was a learning curve,” he explained, “We were using testing results and we had excel spreadsheets full of information we used for mapping out the process.” The key to creating a consistent experience for patients, while also providing a product that the Chef himself could be proud of.
Honeybee is built on a foundation of fine confectionary, sourcing the finest European chocolate, and real fruit to craft the flavor profiles that have made the brand an instant classic and a marquis name.
One thing that sets Honeybee apart is in how they produce their edibles. “There’s skill involved,” Owens said, “A lot of companies don’t spend the time or money needed to temper chocolate.” For Honeybee, the process lends to the brand name. “The honeybee works hard and the reward is the fruits of its labor,” Owens said. That attitude of quality and craftsmanship and aversion to rounding off corners certainly hones in on what keeps customers coming back.
“We build our flavors based on availability and marketability,” he said. Relying on real fruits means that some flavors aren’t realistic as staples – which leads Owens and his team to create those unique limited run and seasonal flavor combinations. “It’s fun because we get the opportunity to do something different.”
For the holidays, Honeybee released a wildly popular peppermint and chocolate flavor combination. The mainstay flavors were crafted by Chef Owens and his team to highlight classic flavors and showcase the quality ingredients. For Owens, the quality and craftsmanship that go into each product is vitally important. Aside from ingredients, Owens emphasizes the rigorous safety measures and testing that go into Honeybee products. Those standards mean more than consistent taste and quality sweets, it means consistent dosing of medicine for patients.
“People don’t realize everything we produce is sent out for testing.” Owens continued, “The safety and quality standards – even more than in Bissinger’s, I think that can give folks a lot of assurance about what they are eating.”
Now Honeybee is turning some of those classic flavors into stronger medicine. The new High Potency line includes the company’s established Peanut + Pretzel Milk Chocolate, but also brings in Strawberry Crunch Caramelized White Chocolate, each of those chocolates contain 300mg THC per package. Owens and team have also created a Toasted Coconut + Sea Salt Milk Chocolate bar with 1:1 ratio, combining 300mg THC and 300mg CBD in a single bar.
Aside from the chocolates, Chef Owens showcases personal favorites by bringing Black Cherry Cola and Blood Orange Strawberry gumdrops to the high potency line, each with 300mg THC per package. Honeybee will also tout a 1:1 ratio high potency gumdrop in Sour Watermelon Passionfruit with 300mg THC and 300mg CBD per package.
The work in the kitchen never stops, as Chef Owens and his team work to perfect new flavors for the chocolate, gumdrops, and Ratio mints lines. The team says Missouri patients can expect more of the same quality but with tailored approaches to more conditions and desired effects in the future.