Meet the Next Gen Leaders in Pollinator Health: Jake Reisdorf

We caught up with past Bayer Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award recipient and one of this year’s judges, Jake Reisdorf, to get a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a young beekeeper and business owner. From Carmel, California, this next-gen leader is paving the way for the future of beekeeping.

In the Bee BUZZ-iness

Jake ReisdorfFor first-ever Young Beekeeper Award winner, Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award recipient and, now, Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award judge, beekeeping is more than a passion – it’s a career! When rising high school senior and owner of Carmel Honey Company Jake Reisdorf developed a website about bees for his fifth grade class project, he had no idea where it would lead him. Inspired by his classmates’ excitement and enthusiasm when he presented his website, Jake set out on a quest for knowledge that eventually changed his life.

Jake didn’t just become a beekeeper overnight; first, he had homework to do. Once Jake finished his actual homework, he spent his time researching all things beekeeping, bees and honey. Jake and his dad attended beekeeping conferences and hands-on classes and joined local beekeeping groups to learn as much as they could before becoming beekeepers themselves. One day when attending a beekeeping meeting, an older beekeeper asked Jake if he wanted to help remove a beehive from underneath a shed. Jake was thrilled when the beekeeper let him keep the hive for himself!

“During this time, I was learning a lot,” said Jake. “I found a mentor to help teach me about the basics of beekeeping and got two more hives. My dad and I started selling our honey at farmers markets and specialty events and started growing a local following. People started to recognize us and our honey, and I realized I could turn my hobby into something even bigger.”

Jake kept collecting bees until he amassed quite a few hives – too many for the backyard! He moved his hives to apiaries throughout Carmel Valley and along the California coast, where they still reside today. He started selling his honey to even more vendors, from chefs to specialty food stores and cheese shops. From there, Carmel Honey Company was born.

“I found my niche and wanted to share my knowledge with my community,” said Jake. “I realized that a lot of people only know the basics about bees and found that people of all ages are really eager to learn more about beekeeping. I started speaking at Kiwanis clubs, garden clubs and schools to teach people about bees, beekeeping and honey.”

Like with his beekeeping hobby, Jake’s passion for education and outreach took off, and he developed Jake Gives Back, the nonprofit side of his business dedicated to sharing knowledge about honey bees and the beekeeping industry with his community. He hopes that by sharing what he knows, he can inspire the next generation of leaders in pollinator health to pursue their passions as well.

“My advice to someone looking to start beekeeping or start a business in general would be to make sure it’s something you’re really passionate about. You need to embrace the journey, love the grind, build yourself a great team and seek out the resources that will help you succeed,” said Jake. “Winning the Bayer Young Beekeeper Award and the Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award helped kickstart my business, and I’m really grateful to my mom, sister, dad and everyone else who plays a part in making Carmel Honey Company possible.”

About the 2020 Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award

The Bayer Bee Care Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award recognizes the next generation of beekeepers (12-18 years old) and their efforts to give back to their communities through activities that support honey bee and pollinator health. Applicants have the chance to earn a $3,000 (first), $2,000 (second) or $1,000 (third) place prize, which can be applied toward continuing their beekeeping efforts or a college scholarship.

The 2020 Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award application is now closed. First, second and third place award recipients will be announced in September during National Honey Month. In the meantime, learn more about the 2020 Blue Ribbon Beekeeper Award here.