From our humble beginnings to welcoming visitors from around the world, discover how we came to bee & what makes us buzz. Our honest passion & love for bees, passed down from one generation to the next, guides our business today and into the future.
The Summer of '69
Our founder, Ed Nowek, began his beekeeping career at just 16 years old with a summer job at Rideau Honey in Hines Creek, Alberta. Though he remembers those first days lifting honey boxes as physically exhausting, along with a few too many bee stings, within weeks Ed fell in love with bees and began his lifelong journey to share their amazing story with the world.
Ed took his passion for bees to foreign countries, immersing himself in unique beekeeping operations. Seasons were spent in the almond groves of California, where a healthy crop is entirely dependent on pollination by honey bees, as well as Queensland, Australia - where Ed says the Eucalyptus trees would drip nectar onto anything beneath their branches (including his farm truck!).
Though he took a hiatus from full time beekeeping work during his late 20s and early 30s, Ed returned to the world of bees in a big way – founding his dream business ‘Bee World’ on his hobby farm in the summer of 1997. Ed’s entrepreneurial vision - to create a place where visitors could discover the amazing world of the honey bee - continues to guide our business more than 20 years later.
With several years spent in the agricultural community of Armstrong, Ed moves the business to the larger tourist center of Vernon in early 2003, taking over a fruit stand on Bella Vista Road. With nearby Davison Orchards drawing visitors and locals alike to the area, Planet Bee enjoys welcoming a growing number of guests.
Ed’s teenage children – who spent many a summer’s afternoon pouring honey for allowance cash as kids, now both take on summer roles at the Bella Vista Road storefront. Before long, Ed’s passion for bees begins to pass down to the next generation & the family business dynamic starts to take shape. Though both James & Olivia leave to pursue their University degrees, both will eventually bring new knowledge and experience back to the buzzing family farm.
Building on the momentum of other product lines, Ed introduces the Okanagan’s first commercial Mead to the market. Early varieties included colossal cranberry, spring surrender and Okanagan delight (which is still offered to this day!)
Returning from University, James helps his Dad to enhance a thriving educational program, welcoming groups of local school children, senior’s homes and hobby clubs and inspiring them with the amazing story of honey bees.
After a year abroad in New Zealand, Olivia returns to the family business as Manager of Marketing and Sales, joining younger brother James who has been overseeing the education program and IT for several years. Bringing her experience in the Wine Industry and graduate degree in Tourism, Olivia begins a re-branding process to elevate the family business to new heights.
Our sustainability initiatives continue to build, with audits to keep us continually improving. We love being a part of the biosphere program, as it keeps our business working towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and connects us with like-minded businesses in our region.
The addition of QR Codes to our on-site gardens allows visitors to customize their learning to whichever topics they choose! Experience working beehives up close, and watch as pollinators visit their favourite plants, collecting pollen & nectar.
Founder of Planet Bee, Ed's vision & passion for bees guides everything we do!
Olivia Hoffart (Nowek)
Proud Beekeeper's Daughter, Olivia oversees our Marketing & Sustainability initiatives!
Our General Manager & Mead-Maker, Martin keeps our hive focused and efficient!
Often found tinkering with new Mead recipes, James is our resident tech expert!