In early December, an esteemed acquaintance of mine, Jill Soloway (writer and director of the current award winning feature Afternoon Delight) mentioned on Facebook that her beekeeper friend David Bock had local honey for sale and that it made a ‘perfect holiday gift’.
My first thought was “Wow, locally made honey? There are actually beekeepers in the city? What does that even look like?” My second thought was “hell yeah it makes a perfect holiday gift. I’d sure want to receive it.” The other perk I discovered was that raw local honey can boost your immunity to allergies. Her post on Facebook said he’d be selling the honey at a stand outside his house until 2:00 p.m. that day.
Things came to a screeching halt however, when I saw his address. The street name had a foreboding quality to it. “Division Street”. I didn’t know Los Angeles even had one and I’m a native. Sure, maybe Chicago or San Francisco but for some reason I felt like if you found yourself on Division Street in Los Angeles, you’d be hurled back in time to the Los Angeles Elizabeth Short might have dwelt in.
The last time I’d come this far east was when my daughter Lena was 14 and wanted to see the band Of Montreal in a club called The Echoplex. It should have been called Club Code Violation but man that show was good! On the way back from The Echoplex we drove on a street that was like driving on an inverted “V”. It seems so benign when you type out the words “driving on an inverted ‘v’… believe me, it’s not. It was traumatic, especially in the dark.
Thankfully it was daytime when I arrived at the honey stand. It was at the end of the driveway in what David describes as “A quiet corner of Glassell Park where the Bocks are launching their family business: Buzzed Honeys.
Under a farmer’s market type canopy, I found a gregarious silver haired man and what had to be his son. Simon, a blonde, blue eyed, elfin boy wearing a Sephardic kippa (a Tubeteika) and a pierced ying/yang earring had the gift of gab for sure, describing the varieties of honey and giving me samples. Each varietal had its own distinct flavor and lemme tell ya, I don’t like all honeys. Some can be bitter to me.
Normally you couldn’t get me to try something like Avocado, but hey, it was Simon who was selling it. I had to give it a try. Just look at that face! Well, it was D-I-V-I-N-E and before I knew it I’d bought 8 jars.
Avocado, Orange, Berry Blossom, Wildflower (light) from La Habra, and Wildflower (dark) from Hemet. If you’re a local and you hear the name La Habra, you instantly think of Cal Worthington or some other used car dealership. Nothing as quaint or quixotic as seasonal honey. So I guess David Bock is kind of a Marquis of Steyne and the honey is Becky Sharp, but in a good way.
Once home I realized I didn’t get nearly enough for the amount of people I wanted to give this stuff to, so, time being of the essence because Christmas was a week and a half away and me afrai..unwilling to venture back in that direction, I asked David if he could deliver 12 jars to me.
The problem was, I wasn’t going to be home and there was a commercial being shot at our house. Yes, I’m that idiot that allowed a film crew to use my house and I had to depend on the production crew or perhaps a stage mother hanging out in our garage, which had become the makeup station/ schoolroom to receive my stash. The instructions for drop off became very specific. David: “It’ll be in a Trader Joe’s bag.” Me: Ok, but it has to be given to a crewmember, not an ‘actor’ (God forbid)…totally kidding…not.
Bottom line, every time I gave someone these jars and they were told it was local; they invariably exclaimed “Fantastic! So good for you!”
Little Flower Bakery in Pasadena, Auntie Em’s In Eagle Rock and ReForm School in Silver Lake are already carrying Buzzed Honeys and David is still in the process of placing it in other high-end bakeries. What is unique about David’s business is his ever-changing selection of seasonal honey. Since I was there he got urban honey from Long Beach, Buckwheat, Alfalfa, Sage and Eucalyptus. Obviously Christmas is over but this honey is a rare treat and is probably the coolest hostess gift I can think of.
Visit: www.buzzedhoneys.com for the latest news about this sweet new venture.
Laraine Newman is a founding member of The Groundlings Theatre Company and an original cast member of Saturday Night Live. She lives in her hometown of Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.
by Chef Mark Shoup