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the bee's wrap guide to camping

Posted on October 08, 2018 by Bees Wrap

There’s no getting around it: Unless you’re a true minimalist, willing to sleep under the stars, camping requires a certain amount of stuff. There’s planning involved — packing lists and grocery lists, tents and gear and extra layers and boots. Getting there is half the battle, but it’s one that we gladly take on during Vermont summers and autumns. The preparation may be daunting, but the payoff is always sweet.

Here’s what camping doesn’t require: Trash. 

At Bee’s Wrap we’re committed to reducing our dependence on single-use plastics, the disposable wares that are all too easy to use once and then toss aside. These end up in landfills and along roadways, in our water and our soil.

Planning ahead — and packing tools like Bee’s Wrap — can make a big difference in cutting back on disposables while traveling and camping. Bee's Wrap is easy to care for and travel with, making it an excellent choice for camping. Rinse your wraps in a river or under a spigot before heading home — or fold the mess up to contain it, and wash at home. Unlike bulkier containers, your wraps can fold down to the size of a handkerchief to tuck into your pack or camping kit.

We turned to a few experienced campers on staff here at Bee’s Wrap to learn more about how they cut down on trash and waste while camping. Looking to take Bee's Wrap on your next camping trip? Shop our zero-waste camping essentials collection.

Pack reusable containers, water bottles, and Bee’s Wrap for meals and on-the-go snacks.

We always make sure we have a few sturdy, reusable water bottles — we love our Klean Kanteens and Hydroflasks, but many brands make good options — in our backpacks and camping kits. We use smaller water bottles on day hikes and excursions, and larger containers to fill up on potable water at campsites.

Likewise, we pack plenty of Bee’s Wrap to both store ingredients in our camp cooler (it’s a great way to keep veggies and bread fresh for the duration of your long weekend trip!) and to pack snacks for adventures. Bee’s Wrap is also handy for wrapping up dirty utensils on the trail or while packing up at a campsite.

When in doubt, use a bread wrap.

Our biggest wraps are multitasking superstars on camping trips — serving as a clean space for prepping food or setting down utensils. Sometimes we like to snack our way through a weekend of camping instead of preparing elaborate meals, and our large bread wraps make it easy to cover a platter of chips, dips, veggies, and cheese.

Skip chemical fire starters for something more natural.

Did you know Bee’s Wrap makes an excellent fire starter? We give away scraps locally in Vermont for use as fire starters (swing by the shop if you’re in the neighborhood!), but you can also repurpose old, worn-out Bee’s Wrap for fire starters. The remaining wax in the wrap will burn for a long time, giving your kindling a chance to catch fire.

Wrap your soap and toothbrush in Bee’s Wrap.

Both at home and on the go, we prefer a bar of soap (and a shampoo bar!) to the excess packaging of liquid soaps and shampoo. Wrap your bar of soap in a small sheet of Bee’s Wrap to contain any slippery suds and drips. Likewise, wrapping a toothbrush in Bee’s Wrap keeps your toothbrush clean in your toiletry kit.


We choose to camp because we find solace and joy in nature. We enjoy good meals outside, cooked beside the campfire (where the added ingredients of fresh air and woodsmoke somehow elevate even the simplest meal to the highest of cuisines). And we celebrate the place we’re committed to protecting: the great outdoors. While fall is in the air here in Vermont, we’re taking every last chance we can to get outside and enjoy this place we call home.





meet our resident beekeeper

Posted on August 17, 2018 by Bees Wrap

When Kat Clear joined our team at Bee’s Wrap last winter, we were thrilled to welcome an enthusiastic, creative sales representative to the hive. The honey on the cake? Kat’s a new beekeeper — spreading the word about Bee’s Wrap by day, and tending her very own honey bees at home. 

Kat and her husband Rolf live in nearby Ferrisburgh on a 25-acre homestead. They keep chickens, and garden extensively (Kat’s even opening up a farmstand down the road with a neighbor). It was gardening that initially prompted the pair’s curiosity about bees; they knew that bees are important pollinators, and they’d heard stories about the decline of the honeybee. They bought a book, attended a local beekeeping class, and last year installed their first hive.

This year, Kat and Rolf are keeping two hives — Italian honey bees bred in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. (Acquiring local “nucs” means the bees are bred to thrive in this particular environment, and supports the local economy.)  Two hives are helpful for novice beekeepers, Kat says, because they provide a kind of reference for one another; if one hive is thriving and the other struggling, the beekeepers can investigate potential problems.

Kat’s intensely curious about bees — eager to tell us, her equally curious coworkers, about a queen sighting or a bee’s fuzzy back or (who knew?!) long tongue. (“Have you ever seen a bee tongue? Come to my house. I’ll show you one,” said Kat.) For Kat, beekeeping has been a grounding process, not unlike gardening, that is a tactile connection back to the earth.

“It’s all about the bees when you’re with them,” said Kat. “There’s no distraction, there’s no taking pictures. It’s about observation, and understanding, and taking care of them.”

She’s also inspired by the bees’ hard-working, community-minded ethic. “They’re individuals, but they’re all working towards a common goal,” she said. “They have this hive mind, and they’re all centered around this bigger thing.”

Kat’s also passionate about teaching others about bees. “It’s really exciting to me to get engaged with kids that are learning about pollination and how that works,” she said. She’s our point person with The Bee Cause, our nonprofit partner in sponsoring observation hives in local schools. She was on hand when our donated hive was installed at Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School, and delights in watching kids react with fascination, rather than fear, to bees.

“You grow up running away from bees, swatting things not to sting you,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, I back up all the time, I get nervous. But when you get a footstep past that, and can be there with them, they’re so beautiful.”

a week of bee's wrap lunches

Posted on August 14, 2018 by Bees Wrap

It's that time of year: Sharpen your pencils, break out your notebooks, and shoulder that backpack. We love the back-to-school season. While it's always bittersweet to say goodbye to summer's lazy days, each new school year brings with it the chance to start fresh. For children, the season signifies change and growth, bringing new teachers, new lessons, and new friends. And even if your school days are far behind you, the back-to-school season invites all of us to freshen up, recommit to goals, and enter the fall and winter with intention.

We're celebrating the back-to-school season with our our sandwich wrap two-pack, available for a limited time; this bundle of two wraps represents a nearly 25% savings. Having two sandwich wraps on hand makes perfect sense for packing lunches: You'll always have one ready for packing a meal, and can rinse and air-dry the other for tomorrow's meal. 

Looking for inspiration? We're daydreaming about a week of Bee's Wrap lunches designed for whomever might be toting Bee's Wrap this season, from the picky palates to the adventurous eater. Read on for ways to fill your sandwich wraps this fall.

Monday: There's a place for PB&J in life, but whoever said sandwiches have to be boring? We're often inspired to cook more elaborate meals on leisurely Sundays, which means Monday can be a day for tasty leftovers. Here, we topped a slice of flatbread with leftover falafel, chopped veggies, pickled onions, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs and tzatziki for a Middle Eastern-inspired sandwich with bold, bright flavors. 

Tuesday: Bagels and cream cheese are pantry staples, tasty on their own (and sure to please even picky eaters). If you're looking to up the ante, go crazy with add-ons. Here, we added cucumber, pickled onions, and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, as well as plenty of fresh cracked pepper. 

Wednesday: It's time for wraps on wraps! Tortilla wraps are endlessly adaptable. We like to add thinly sliced veggies, lightly dressed greens, hummus, and cheese or lunch meats to our wraps. When bits and bites inevitably spill over, our sandwich wrap acts as a placemat for meals at your desk or cafeteria table. 

Thursday: By late in the week, packed schedules means packing lunch can be a headache. Enter the snack meal: veggies, hummus, crackers, and a little bit of whatever might be in the pantry. (Luckily, by storing carrots, celery, and peppers in Bee's Wrap in our fridge, we keep our veggies fresh all week long.) We aim for a mix of textures and colors, and if we're feeling fancy we might doctor our hummus with smoked paprika and olive oil. But honestly, this is the time to simplify.

Friday: Everyone — kids and grown-ups alike — needs a treat every now and then, and there's no harm in having a little fun with lunch. Marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and bananas meet for a crowd-pleasing lunch that's simultaneously decadent and dead simple. We're fans of all things in moderation, and what better day than Friday to indulge in something sweet and a little playful? 

Whatever you pack for lunch this fall, we hope Bee's Wrap makes it easier to store your food simply and sustainably, at home and on the go. 

lessons from plastic free july

Posted on August 01, 2018 by Bees Wrap

 

We've long been fans of Plastic Free July at Bee's Wrap, and this year our team decided to embrace the challenge. For the last week of the month, we encouraged our team members to pledge to reduce single-use plastics. In total, thirteen Bee's Wrap employees jumped in. Our goals ranged in ambition and scope, from refusing plastic straws to buying more bulk groceries to carrying reusable water bottles, and more. What we shared was a common desire to pay more attention to the plastic in our daily lives, and look for places where we could improve.

What did we learn along the way? A lot. 

Sometimes there's a cost to refusing plastic. But maybe it comes out in the wash?

At our local food co-op, Katie (press and communications) opted for a half-gallon of organic milk in a reusable glass container; this container can be redeemed for a deposit at the store, sent back to the creamery, and reused. But that half-gallon of milk is more expensive than the organic alternative in a plastic jug. Jess (marketing associate) ran into the same quandary when, craving a cool beverage, she chose kombucha in a glass jar over a flavored seltzer in plastic. Sometimes going plastic free simply costs more.

But we also realized that choosing to refuse single-use items made us more thoughtful about our consumption overall. It was easier to resist an impulse purchase at a gas station. Many of us packed our lunches more regularly, saving money (and waste) from take-out options. While we didn't do a rigorous accounting of the costs and savings associated with refusing single-use plastics, we had a hunch that it all balanced out in the end.

A little bit of preparation goes a long way.

Refusing single-use plastics does require some forethought, and keeping the right tools handy goes a long way toward making habit shifts. Katie was traveling last week; with an early morning flight ahead of her, she packed breakfast in a sandwich wrap and carried an empty reusable coffee cup through security. Jess carried bamboo utensils on an outing to the farmers' market, and was able to refuse the plastic fork offered for her lunch on the go. Abbey (office admin) is now on the hunt for the perfect stainless steel box so she can ask for leftovers at restaurants to be packed up in a reusable container. 

Plastic really is everywhere.

Grocery shopping was perhaps the biggest challenge. We packed our reusable shopping bags. Jess shopped the bulk section, using glass jars to store her pantry staples. Even so, plastic was hard to avoid entirely. It was surrounding each block of cheese in the dairy section, each bundle of fresh herbs in the produce section, and hidden inside cereal boxes. John (sales and marketing) noted that plastic often cropped up in unexpected places — like the farmers' market, where he was surprised to realize how ubiquitous plastic bags could be. 

Other businesses are making thoughtful choices about plastic.

Just as Plastic Free July made us notice how much plastic is out there to avoid, it also made us appreciate the businesses around us that are trying to curb our culture's plastic addiction. A local ice cream stand uses compostable dishes, cups, spoons, and napkins. A coffee shop incentivizes customers to bring their own mugs by discounting a cup of coffee. At one local grocery store, there's no need to choose "paper or plastic?" if you forget your reusable bags — they only stock paper, and keep cast off cardboard boxes on hand for grocery toting. 

We have to speak up. 

It can be hard to go against the grain and ask for special treatment. Sometimes it means chasing down a barista who reaches for a disposable cup before you offer up your reusable one, or asking the person behind the deli counter to wrap a sandwich in Bee's Wrap (as Sarah, our founder, did last week). We had conversations with our servers, the employees in our local grocery stores, and our friends and families. In the end, these were all conversations worth having. 

We're not perfect. But we are trying to do better.

In taking note of the plastics in our daily lives, we also started noticing them in the world around us. Kat, one of our sales representatives, spent part of July on vacation at the beach — where she found balloons and straws and even a basketball washed up on shore during walks.  

"I went down to the river last weekend and was so bummed to see so much trash: an empty chip bag, cigarette butts, soda caps, a dirty sandwich baggie, a lone plastic floatie," said Jess. "It's surprising to me that people can be so careless with such a beautiful place." 

This is the kind of revelation that drives us. So, too, does the camaraderie of tackling this challenge together. Plastic Free July might be over, but we'll be choosing to reuse as much as we can — saying no to the plastic straw, carrying our reusable totes, and packing a sandwich in Bee's Wrap. We hope you'll join us. 

tips for zero(ish) waste living

Posted on July 01, 2018 by Bees Wrap

When Celia Ristow started publicly blogging, writing, and talking about the zero-waste movement, she felt a lot of pressure to do things perfectly — to fit her annual trash into a tiny jar, to overhaul every waste-generating part of her life.

"As a public figure in zero waste, I felt like I needed to do it perfectly," said Ristow, who runs the blog Litterless and founded the nonprofit Zero Waste Chicago. "What I found when I was trying to do it perfectly was that it was exhausting." 

Today, Ristow takes a different approach to zero waste living — one that recognizes the urgency of curbing pollution and waste, but also extends grace to herself and to those eager to make big changes. Zero waste, she said, isn't about eliminating one's garbage altogether. It's about being conscious of what you're purchasing and throwing away, and making an effort to reduce where you can. 

"It's not all or nothing," she said. "Stressing out about doing it perfectly and fitting your trash in the jar — I don’t think it’s ultimately the way to make this shift for life."

This month marks Plastic Free July, a global movement to refuse single-use plastics and reduce plastic pollution. We spoke to Ristow a few weeks ago about her zero waste lifestyle (she uses the term "zero waste" as a default, because it's widely accepted, but prefers thinking about "zero-ish" or "low" waste) to gain some inspiration and useful tips about reducing waste. 

Ristow was in college when she first learned about the concept of zero waste living. In many ways, she notes, choosing zero waste relies on leveraging one's purchasing power. When she left the dorms and set out on her adult life, she resolved that as she set up some of her daily routines — cleaning her house, and cooking her own meals — she'd make them zero waste.

She'd grown up with a backyard compost bin, and upon moving to Chicago, she did some Googling and signed up for a city service. It was as easy as sending an email, she said, and soon she wasn't adding food scraps to her garbage anymore. She purchased a few reusable produce bags and swapped out plastic bags at the grocery store. For those resolving to reduce waste in their daily lives, Ristow says, the kitchen is an easy place to start: "So much of what we consume is in our kitchen," she said, "with a weekly if not daily influx of goods." 

Other routines can be harder to retrofit for a zero waste lifestyle. Take beauty routines. "They're so personal, and we invest so much time in making them work for us," said Ristow. "Suddenly it's not just about natural ingredients and efficacy, but also about packaging."

Today, she tries to be gentle with herself, and honest with her readers, about where she succeeds and where she fails. "When I get a chance to start the conversation, the thing I talk about is, 'zero' for me is more of a stand in, it’s not really the actual goal," said Ristow. "I want people to know that they're welcome at any level."

So, perhaps that means starting with carrying a tote bag to the grocery store. A month later, start carrying a water bottle. "That's participating, and that's worthy of celebrating," said Ristow. 

New to zero-ish waste living? Ristow has some suggestions. Start with the low-hanging fruit. We're tickled she counts Bee's Wrap in that camp. "It's very easy to do something like commit to using Bee's Wrap," she said. "I didn't have to be convinced."

Other easy swaps? Use bar soap instead of liquid soap that comes in a plastic container. Get creative with reusable containers. (Ristow wraps her bread in Bee's Wrap, then stores it in her dutch oven when it's not in use.) 

Ristow's been cheered to see the zero waste movement grow and take root in the culture in the last four years. Suddenly she's seeing companies market to this community, and a greater diversity of people express interest. In Chicago, she holds monthly meet-ups — free spaces where people can have coffee or sit in the park and share zero-waste tips. She's also started hosting workshops introducing people to zero-waste living tips or composting. 

"I think at its heart, zero waste is about giving people the tools to harness every decision they make to reflect the world they want to live in," she said. "If we're going to solve climate change, if we're going to reverse our plastic pollution problem, we need to get everyone in here, and not everyone is going to participate at the same level."

Her goal? Make it clear that all are welcome. That all choices matter. And that every little bit helps.

We're making it a little easier to reduce your waste with our Plastic Free July giveaway! Through July 11, enter here for your chance to win Bee's Wrap, reusable totes, a zero waste utensil set, and more! 

giving back with the bee cause

Posted on June 18, 2018 by Bees Wrap

In 2017 we began working with The Bee Cause, a national nonprofit that places beehives in schools throughout the country. We love bees, and recognize that pollinators play a critical role in our environment. We wanted to spread the word about these incredible and important pollinators, and The Bee Cause made perfect sense to support.

The Bee Cause provides young people with opportunities to understand, engage, and learn from honey bees — connecting with the natural environment and fostering important STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) skills in the process. This week, as we celebrate National Pollinator Week, we’ve decided to donate 5 percent of all sales to The Bee Cause. This applies to orders made from June 18 through June 22. This donation will allow us to sponsor the installation of a beehive for one New England school that’s been on The Bee Cause’s waitlist.

Our first Bee Cause-sponsored hive went into a middle school in Ripton, Vt., last year, and we followed up with a hive donation to an elementary school in Cornwall, Vt., this spring. Last month we headed to Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School — an elementary school about a half hour away from Bee’s Wrap HQ — to watch Principal Jen Kravitz move a “nuc” — the nucleus containing a queen bee and her attendants — into their new home.

Cornwall second and third graders watched from a safe distance as Principal Kravitz removed the nuc — five healthy frames containing the bees — and placed the nuc into the house. “It’s a tenuous but exciting moment for a new hive,” explained Kat Clear, our Bee’s Wrap sales representative and resident beekeeper. “Once the queen is safely in place in her colony, the hive can grow and proliferate.”

“It’s like moving from an apartment to a four-bedroom house,” said Kat. “You really need to get them into their new mansion and say, ‘Have fun, put a rug down where you want.’”

The students got a chance to handle some of Kravitz’s hive tools, like her bee brush and smoker. They’d also spent the weeks leading up to the hive’s installation learning about bees and pollination, building flowers out of pipe cleaners and talking about the transfer of pollen. This is the kind of hands-on learning that moves from the classroom into the great outdoors that The Bee Cause hopes to foster, and that we’re so glad to support.

We’re particularly excited to see children embrace bees, recognizing the vital role that bees and other pollinators play in our natural environment; we hope that by instilling a love of pollinators in our youngest neighbors, we can protect this vital — but vulnerable — group for decades to come.

snapshots: blue ledge farm

Posted on June 07, 2018 by Bees Wrap

It's early spring at Blue Ledge Farm in Salisbury, Vermont. There's cheese to be made, goats to be tended — and if the day allows for it, sunshine to be savored. With spring finally here, everyone at Blue Ledge, the farmers and the goats alike, are grateful for the shift in seasons.

Hannah Sessions and Greg Bernhardt met while studying abroad in Florence; fresh out of college, the then 23-year-olds shared a dream to raise goats and make cheese. They bought an old dairy barn in Vermont's rural Champlain Valley, converted a barn that once held Holstein cows into a home for a herd of Alpine and LaMancha goats, and began making fresh chèvre.  

Partners in business and life, Greg and Hannah tag-team on the farm: She manages the goats (they milk about 125 at any given time), he the cheese (11 varieties in total). They're both visual artists as well, painters who exhibit in Vermont galleries and beyond. 

Farmers like Hannah and Greg embody the kind of care for food, animals, and the land that inspires us. Their 150-acre farm is conserved with the Vermont Land Trust, which means the land will never be developed; the farm also uses a biomass furnace to heat the farmhouse, cheese house, and barn, and solar panels provide much of the farm's electricity. 

Meanwhile, the goats spend three seasons grazing on pasture and in the woods before bedding down at night in the barn. The goats' manure is composted, then applied to the fields, completing the nutrient cycle from grass to goat to grass again.

These are farmers who care for their animals, for the land, and for making good food. (If you have a chance to snap up a piece of Blue Ledge Farm cheese, we highly recommend it.) 

We live in a place where our food is close at hand — where we pass farm stands and freshly planted fields on the way to work, where we know the people who raise our meat and eggs and, in the case of Blue Ledge Farm, our cheese. We began making Bee's Wrap with a simple premise: Good food deserves good care. When you care about the food you consume — where and how it's grown, who makes it, and how it's prepared — you begin to care about everything that touches it.

 

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