While at the 2016 Jersey City Project: Winter Market, I finally had the opportunity to meet Michelle Berckes, owner of Busy Bee Organics. We had been following each other on social media for a while, but I never met her. At the Market, Michelle had a booth set up where she was serving amazing hot chocolate with the biggest homemade marshmallows; I saw Jersey City Eats outside the tents and he told me I had to try it.
I went up to the booth and introduced myself. Michelle was the sweetest and we chatted for a minute or two; that began our acquaintanceship. I knew many people who ordered food weekly or went on The Beetox. I saw the Busy Bee Tent at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, but would never buy anything. She makes amazing food that is very good for people eating vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. But, I am nut free and allergic to a number of foods that fall under gluten free so I had to wait until I found the right food on the menu.
In April of 2017, Michelle came to a Hudson County Social Meet Up and we chatted some more. We talked about Jersey City, business, her travels to Durango, Colorado (one of my favorite places), being single and 30, and everything in between.
Photo by michlu
But, this past year is when I really got to know Michelle and the Busy Bee Brand. She was a food vendor at GJC Wellness Day 2018 and the reviews were off the charts - for the food she provided, the options she had, and the entire team. I fell in love with the quinoa salad and carrot oat squares. From there, I started buying her product every week and once the Downtown Farmer’s Market started, I would make sure to stop by on Thursdays. She catered for the Growing in Jersey City Two Year Anniversary Party and, again, the food did not disappoint - she made a quinoa salad, an amazing crudite with beet hummus, and chocolate bark with so many antioxidant properties.
Now that I have caught you up on our relationship with Busy Bee Organics and the owner, Michelle, I wanted to share why Michelle started the company, what Jersey City means to her, and hopefully get you to try her food.
What is Busy Bee Organics?
Busy Bee is dedicated to providing the “busy bees” of our community with health-supportive, flavorful grab-and-go foods for every lifestyle. They dedicate their everyday to help others gain clarity with eating habits and provide education in nourishing our bodies with each bite.
What started with an unhealthy obsession with food has turned into an amazing business. Michelle had struggled with her body image and bulimia for years. “I strived for the skinny body by eating fat-free and sugar-free versions of every processed food because cookbooks and diet books told me that was the best way to a ‘fit’ body. I deprived my body of nutrients and struggled with body image and bulimia without an end in sight. I lost hope in myself and thought that I would eventually find my demise in that disease,” shared Michelle.
She found The Natural Gourmet Institute, a supportive culinary school in New York City and her life changed. She was able to connect with food, appreciate it, and focus on health instead of weight. She obtained her BS in Dietetic Nutrition and became a certified Natural Food Chef. After a brief stint in California, Michelle returned to Jersey City in 2013 as a result of her very persuasive sister, Meika, owner of Another Man's Treasure, and started Busy Bee Organics.
While working two other jobs, she was able to participate in the Farmer’s Market, thanks to Rachel Sieg from HDSID. “She really gave me my first shot by allowing me to set up at the Grove Street Farmers Market once a week. At that time I was bringing jams, nut butters, meals, dips, etc.,” explained Michelle. The market closes in December and people wanted to continue buying her food, so she connected by delivering meals and that is how they morphed into a delivery company. “We were fortunate to connect with people like Kristen, the owner of Kanibal Home, she also runs The Jersey City Project. She helped expose our idea at her amazing markets - PROJECT EATS/ PROJECT MARKET. We also had the pleasure of working with local bloggers like ChicpeaJC, Hobokengirl, and you, Growing in Jersey City!”
Michelle is just one of the many people and businesses that feel so connected to Jersey City - “Jersey City is fantastic in that way, small businesses connecting to help each other succeed in our dreams! Without support from others, I never would have been able to quit my other jobs and take this on full time,” said Michelle.
“Our community seems to serve one another; we all really seem to try to build each other up. Like you say best ‘community before competition.’ I deeply appreciate this about our diverse community of entrepreneurs. On top of the cool people who live and work here, the scenery just can transform your day,” shared Michelle. She appreciates the city for everything it has to offer in between running a very successful and busy business - from zen time on the waterfront, to catching the skyline at the golden hour, or sitting in the grass at Liberty State Park.
To learn more about Busy Bee and their meal delivery food offerings, click here.