As we blaze our way through this rece- depr- —whatever you want to call it—people are returning to some of the hobbies of our forefathers and sisters. Seed sales soared this spring and there has been in upswing in classes for jam, sauerkraut and beer making. Foraging fruit is newly cool. And though raising bees in an urban setting is hardly a new idea (they've been doing it in Paris' Luxembourg Gardens for a century and a half), beekeeping is gaining popularity among a select group of people that, for lack of a better term, we'll call urban homesteaders.
Cameo Wood is capitalizing on the backyard beekeeping (which, here in SF, is legal...unlike in NYC, home to a beekeepers ball) by opening a shop in the Mission devoted to city dwelling bee lovers. Her store, Her Majesty's Secret Beekeeper, is opening at 3520 20th Street in the Mission the first week of July. Formerly employed by a tech company, Wood was laid off in October and filled up her spare time with hobbies, falconry and beekeeping among them. After joining SF's beekeeping society (200 members strong, they meet at the Randall Museum) she recognized the need for a local source of beekeeping supplies and hive products, from city-made honey to propolis chewing gum to candles. The shop will sell everything you need to start your own bee factory and Cameo will be leading classes in mead-making, balm, salve and soap making and beekeeping basics. Interestingly, Wood swears there is a giant difference in flavor between honey made in a Castro backyard and that produced in, say, Pacific Heights. "It's night and day," she claims. When the shop opens next week, you can find out for yourself what all the buzz is about.