A Sweet Buzzin’ Sensation Taking off in Central Missouri
It all started with a love of beekeeping and honey when the Giofre Family was approached with a business they could not refuse. Giofre Apiaries started out in 2009 as a small hobby beekeeping operation making honey products out of their home. In 2014, they took over a honey ice cream business.
The Missouri Beekeeping Association had been passing their honey ice cream business down to generations of beekeepers to keep their popular honey ice cream booth at the Missouri State Fair going strong each year. Once Walk-About Acres, the previous bee farm that had been making honey ice cream, approached Giopfre Apiaries the with the opportunity to take over, the Giofres bought a facility and got to work.
Hitting the ground running, not only did the Giofres sell their premium honey ice cream at the Missouri State Fair each year, but they broadened their scope to numerous stores, markets and restaurants across Missouri and Illinois.
Realizing they couldn’t do it all on their own, the Giofres reached out to USDA Rural Development to help. In September 2016, they were awarded a $225,000 Value-Added Producer Grant. The funds assisted with processing and marketing of their honey ice cream.
“It’s helped us hire help, get new ice cream cups and enabled to us to increase our products to keep up with big orders. I couldn't do all this myself,” said Nancy Giofre.
The Giofres make over 24 flavors of honey ice cream with vanilla and chocolate being their most popular. They are always looking to try new recipes as they expand and even have seasonal flavors such as eggnog and pumpkin during the Fall, and cherry in the Spring. Their ice cream contains close to 13 percent honey added to enhance the flavor.
Currently, they are capitalizing on the areas and markets they are present in to ensure they aren’t traveling too far which allows them to condense their daily runs.
“For us, it’s gone great,” said Domenic Giofre. “We wouldn’t be able to be where we are today without the grant money we received.”
As they continue, they hope to keep developing and expanding their business to sell more products and retain the jobs they’ve created for their five employees.
||Obligation Amount||$225,000||Date of Obligation||September 2016||Congressional District||4||Senator's Last Names||McCaskill and Blunt|