Buzz Savories

Buzz Savories, Nebraska Bee Farm Stuck on Natural Honey Production

Sandra Yerges

A cold and dreary winter morning and a 35-minute drive on blustery roads did not stop Betty Sayers from attending her first beekeeping class. After suiting up in warm clothing and walking onto the Kearney fairgrounds, she was met by an entomologist from the University of Nebraska along with a group of other beekeepers. She remembers looking around at the individuals in their outdoor gear braving the cold and thought to herself, “These are my people; I want to be like them.”

It started with networking with other beekeepers and ordering the first package of bees from a Minnesota business to get the operation going. Betty shared that beginning beekeeping involves trial and error. A common misconception she hears from others is that beekeeping is a dreamy and peaceful process. However, she learned through a painful experience involving multiple bee stings that bees belong to the “wild” side of animal life and caution and care is required.

Once the apiary got on its way, Betty realized she was producing more honey than she could use. Although she was giving the surplus away to others, she felt little satisfaction in giving away the bee’s intense work involved with honey production. Because of this, she explored potential business ventures involving honey. She landed on the idea of making mustard with honey as a primary ingredient.

In 2018, Buzz Savories was established with assistance from friends and the University of Nebraska Food Science Department. Because Betty conveniently had a neighbor working as a critical care nurse, they were able to collaborate on creating a mustard recipe with the customer’s health in mind. In addition to her neighbor’s help, she consulted the University of Nebraska Food Science Department and developed a recipe for spicy beer mustard that features honey and a locally brewed beer.

Even though the company began selling honey and spicy beer mustard, the business has expanded its product line to include both honey mustard and hand-poured, 100% beeswax candles. The production of these products occurs in the certified commercial kitchen of a repurposed school near her place of business. 

These high-quality offerings would not be possible without the hard work of Betty’s bees. “They are miraculous little workers,” she stated. 

There is a noticeable difference between imported honey products and the products created from local honey like Buzz Savories. As Betty noted, jars labeled as honey often contain additives, such as corn or cane syrup, to add weight to the product. Locally produced, 100% honey is recommended for its unique flavor that can be traced to the flowers the bees visit to sip the nectar, which is the only ingredient of locally produced honey. 

Betty illustrated that because of these innate abilities, the beekeeping process is focused more on tending to the bees’ habitat as opposed to the bees themselves. “You just have to make the environment around them, so they can do the work,” she said. 

During every season, there are many tasks Betty finds herself completing to aid in this process. The honey is removed in the more sedentary fall season while the bees are fed, medicated, and put away for the winter. 

In early spring, she feeds the bees for the second time while working on the painstaking process of medicating the bees. With the growth of varroa mites invading bee habitats over the past few years, this immunity-building procedure is vital to the health of the insects. Being that the honey created in the apiary is intended for human consumption, Betty holds off on medicating the bees in the active summer season. 

Marketing has always been a large focus for Buzz Savories as Betty shared, “Beekeeping compared to selling things is easy; selling things is hard.” To apply her love of sharing recipes with the added benefit of promoting her products, Betty has tapped into social media and online measures to engage with her audience. In the walls of her 120-year-old renovated kitchen, she and her daughter-in-law produce videos of Betty cooking new recipes to share on TikTok. They also have a following on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook along with a bi-monthly recipe update on their website including Buzz Savories products.

These promotional efforts have been huge for Buzz Savories along with the help of the USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG). Betty was well-versed in grant writing as she had experience with them in the past. It took one failed attempt at applying for the VAPG and the help of Kelley Messenger, an Nebraska-based USDA employee, to lead the business to application success and receive the $50,000 grant in 2020.

With the determined mindset she employed at the origins of Buzz Savories, Betty obtained a vast amount of marketing knowledge during the course of the two-year grant period. She realized that working with professionals to achieve business goals can make all the difference in sales outcomes. Whether it was updating their website to communicate a polished brand or working with radio and television advertising, she grew in her keen eye to recognize what works for the company and what does not. Currently, Buzz Savories products may be purchased online at and in Nebraska stores listed on the company website.

Despite beekeeping starting as a curious interest, Betty has developed products with endless cooking and enjoyment possibilities. As she looks ahead, she wants to appeal to her tourist customer base by introducing her Nebraska made products to tourists at Nebraska state parks. Wherever her business takes her, her goals include speaking and teaching on the value of buying honey from local honey producers and the importance of planting flowers in your garden that appeal to pollinators.