Local Love for Local Honey: Paradis Valley Honey
Owners: Ginette & Danny Paradis
If you and your spouse spend your weekly date night driving around to see which local pastures are flowering, chances are, you’re a beekeeper. That’s how it is for Ginette and Danny Paradis, owners and operators of Paradis Valley Honey in Watino, which is in Alberta’s Peace River Region.
As Ginette explains, the unique floral landscape of this part of northwestern Alberta makes for thriving bees, as well as world-class honey!
“We have a lot of natural habitat and a lot of agriculture at our doorstep,” says Ginette. “With ranch land in the area, we have an abundance of clover and alsike flowers around us, as well as wildflowers. We love making these clean, natural floral sources available to our bees.”
The couple are multi-generation beekeepers, with generational experience in Alberta and deeper roots in Quebec. Branding with the name Paradis Valley Honey in 2003, Ginette and Danny decided early on that traditional bulk honey production wouldn’t provide the livelihood they wanted. They needed to be bold and embrace change.
“Diversifying within our business has been the best way to keep ourselves sustainable,” says Ginette. “Moving into raw pollen gave us some diversity, while staying within the same type of work with the bees. On February 5, 2019, we increased our focus on philanthropy & agritourism by opening a farm-gate café to the public along with growing our fundraiser awareness. These improvements have built brand recognition & expanded educational outreach.”
Today, the business’s website at paradisvalleyhoney.com sells their raw honey and pollen, along with a line of honey-related personal care products. Their bright spot has been fundraising sales for community organizations across Canada. Instead of the same-old offering – frozen cookie dough, anyone? – organizations can now sell healthy, sustainable Paradis Valley Honey and retain 40% of sales. It’s been a winner for the Paradis family’s business, too.
Communication builds brand; brand builds sales
Back when bulk honey production was the norm for Alberta beekeepers, honey producers were largely anonymous to the general public. Paradis Valley Honey isn’t just a farm business anymore, it’s also a consumer-facing brand. With Danny busy working with the bees, Ginette is responsible for what’s become a huge part of the operation: communication.
“This has been a 15-year process for us,” she says. “Consumer education takes time, but from the beginning we were adamant about what our values are. Our values are about providing quality raw provisions, from our hives to your table, while sustaining healthy colonies.”
Communicating with customers through social media and the farm’s website is key to building trust with those who recognize quality & care about where their food comes from. This couple maintains quality through an unswerving focus on what matters most: the bees. Good nutrition for the bees is critically important, as well as maintaining their hives’ high health status through regular testing and careful management. Ongoing education and adopting new technology keeps them on the leading edge of modern beekeeping.
By focusing on the needs of their bees above all else, Paradis Valley Honey can give its customers the best of what Alberta’s Peace Country has to offer. With agritourism and fundraising sales growing, Ginette and Danny Paradis are excited for more people to enjoy their products and experience their farm life.
“Our job as beekeepers is to keep our eye out for what’s flowering where, and move our hives so our bees can have access to the best floral source at the highest nectar flow time,” says Ginette. “That’s a big part of our couple time in the spring and summer. It is busy but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re all in.”