botnia skincare x sonoma county bee company

Botnia’s Love Letter to Candice of Sonoma County Bee Co.

By now, you can probably feel our love for Candice of Sonoma County Bee Company and how we’re super obsessed with her honey to use both inside and outside the treatment room.

Over the last three years, we’ve created a yearly hydrosol together. In 2019 our first blend of wild-harvested mugwort together with yarrow and lavender from the Botnia micro-farm called “California Dreaming.” The second blend in 2020, with mugwort, yarrow, and feverfew, called “Awakening.” This year, our third collaboration is named “Hydrosol for Humanity.”

Not only do we love Candice for the amazing bee products she, her team, and her bees produce (you don’t want to miss out on her beeswax candles!), but we love her passion for returning to the natural ways of working with the land around her. 

Read on for our Q&A session with Candice!

What inspired you to become a beekeeper?

Candice: I’ve always been fascinated with seasons and cycles. Bees are the perfect example of the ultimate cycle. Life and death occur in great numbers. They are a perfectly efficient functioning society. I enjoy discovering their patterns and behaviors, watching how they react to the season’s change. They inspire me. Bees are amazing! I will always be a beekeeper of some sort. Although I like to think of myself as a bee steward, not so much a beekeeper. We just try to give them a good home and plant plenty of food, they aren’t ours to keep. It’s nature, we are just here to nurture. 

What do you love about being a beekeeper?

Candice: That’s a hard one, there is a lot to like. Bee people are my people. I love the feeling I get during a good hive dive. It can be meditative, brings me down to earth, and observant to the present moment. I also like getting to know each colony, taking notes, and getting to know their lineage. The personality of each colony can vary in so many ways. 

What’s the one thing about bees you wish everyone knew?

Candice: Honey bees are sentient. They grieve, they get excited, they defend their sisters. It’s incredible to witness and at times truly sad. We know right away when a hive has lost its queen, the bees are sullen and walking about the hive. Springtime inside a hive the vibe is jubilant and productive. Heading into winter there’s a rush and sense of urgency. It’s incredible!

What are some favorite ways you use honey?

Candice: I love to do herbal steams when I’m not feeling well, so I make my own spa! I rub honey on my face in a thin layer, then do my steam. Honey is a humectant so it draws in moisture, and I add herbs in my steams that are moistening (like marshmallow). Then after my steam, I put the infusion in the fridge to cold steep overnight. Nothing wasted, ultimate nourishment. I also like putting leftover chopped raw garlic in honey and just let it ride out in the fridge. I use it in sauces, marinades, and sometimes with a little bit of vinegar as a tonic, like a quick fire cider shot if I’m feeling sick. 

Your favorite local shops in Sonoma:

Candice: I love Good Gray (not just because they have our products). 😉  It’s such a fun shop. Mother/daughter owned, with everything gorgeously displayed in a beautiful old building. Interesting and inspired finds, and the daughter is a wonderful textile artist. They moved into a new location in Penngrove, I really enjoy the drive there. It’s a good day trip if you’re coming up from the Bay Area. 

Okay, here’s our lightning round:

Favorite plant or flower? 

Passiflora incarnata for sure! It’s my herbal ally. I turned to this herb early on in my herbal schooling when I was struggling with a restless mind at night. Life. Changing. 

Can’t-live-without skincare product?

Not just saying this, but Botnia Balancing Oil Cleanser. It’s a family favorite over at our house. I also love chapstick, no loyalty to a specific brand just give me alllllll the chapstickssssss.

Currently on my playlist?

I have such a broad spectrum of musical interests; I’m not a musician but I am a professional appreciator of music. Recently, I started going back to musicians I listened to growing up so right now on my playlist it’s Everlast and Led Zeppelin.

Can’t-skip daily habit?

Coffee! Each morning’s ritual. I’ve tried to go off coffee and by trying, I mean it was just a thought. I don’t drink coffee after 10 am. I’ll be up all night. 

Coffee or tea?

Both: I love coffee in the morning and tea at night. I’ve gotten my kids used to drinking tea. They love putting the honey in. We have a lot of honey to pick from but mom’s bees usually win. 

Inspired to shop small? Check out the Sonoma County Bee Company shop to find small-batch raw honey and beeswax products! 

Shop Hydrosol For Humanity
Check out the story of our Hydrosol for Humanity collaboration.

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