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The Trade

Damian Magista

Damian Magista

After receiving a bee hive as a gift, Damian began placing hives in different areas of Portland. Noticing a distinct difference in the honey based on hive location, inspiration struck and Bee Local was born. 

What Inspired You To Start Your Company?

After being given a bee hive by my neighbor I fell in love with beekeeping and honey that the bees produced. Once I discovered that honey from my hives in different neighborhoods tasted completely different from each other Bee Local was born.


Tell us about your products.

In 2011 I started harvesting honey from different historic neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon. Surprisingly, I found that each neighborhood honey had strikingly distinct and nuanced flavor, color and viscosity – due to the different forage available to the bees in each area. Each one of these honeys tells the delicious story of a specific place, and specific time. I wanted to bring this to the public and let them know honey is not just honey.


What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?

Being a Small-Batch “Artisan” simply means to specialize in one thing, create it by hand using the best techniques possible, and passion.


What is your favorite small-batch treat?

Petite Classique by Commons Brewery. It’s a beautifully balanced table saison flavored with pink peppercorns. Only brewed in small batches so get it when you can.


What Drew You To Food?

I have been in the kitchen since I was a small child. My father did all the cooking and I helped. It’s genetic I guess.

Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?

It comes from the desire to create a good, flavorful, and honest product.


What Products Are You Working On Now?

If I told you I’d have to kill you.


Do You Have a Favorite Product?

Our Hot Honey is my favorite product right now. It’s spicy, sweet with a nice vinegar punch to send every thing home.


Latest Ingredient Obsession?

Oddly enough, Weaver Ants. They taste like lime.


What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?

Bulgogi from Kim Jong Grillin’


What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?

Jacques Pepin


What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?

Trust your instincts, follow your heart, and never give up.


What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?

Sarah & Dirk Marshall of Marshall’s Haute Sauce


If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?

Nom Bang Chok w/ curry, congealed blood, banana blossom, morning glory, and pumpkin.


Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?

Currently it’s Cuisine Wat Damnak in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Chef Joannes takes traditional Khmer food and fresh local ingredients then prepares them in the French culinary tradition. It’s a beautiful tribute to Khmer culture and not to be missed.


What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?

Travel, photography, working my bees, puttering around the house.


What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?

KARP - Bacon Industry


What is your favorite recipe to make with the product featured in our basket? 

Buckwheat Honey Hot Toddy - Hot Water, our Buckwheat Honey, lemon, and Dogwood Distilling’s Raw Honey Rye (made with our honey). 


Find Damian's Bee Local Buckwheat Honey in The Box from Chef Matthew Accarrino