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Shake Shack x Damon Roy: The Man Behind Our Honey

September 18, 2021
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Damon Roy beekeeper

As Shack fans know, we recently launched a Summer Menu featuring the Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich, Hot Honey Bites, and Hot Honey Fries. We’re thrilled to partner with beekeeper Damon Roy of Raw Honey LLC to source the highest-quality raw honey to make our Hot Honey Chicken glaze and Habanero mayo!

While on the lookout for new partners, our team pulls out all the stops to find the best ingredients—which is how we got word of Damon. Based in New Orleans, Damon is a beekeeper who owns and runs three apiaries.

From the moment our team first spoke with Damon, we could tell his story (and honey) were something special. We recently sat down with him to see what all the buzz is about. Check it out below!

Beekeeper Damon Roy sitting in apiary

How it started

My curiosity of bees and their production of honey inspired me to become a beekeeper. I started working with bees in 2013 and haven’t stopped since. It was a passion project that hasn’t ended!

Beekeeper Damon Roy tending to a honeycomb

Beekeeping basics

I currently have three apiaries with a total of 200 hives and anywhere from 10,000 to 60,000 bees per hive depending on the season. A hive is created when worker bees take a newly hatched egg and raise it to become a queen. Once the queen begins to lay eggs, a hive begins to be built. A hive can also be created by introducing a queen to a group of bees. If they accept her, she’ll begin to lay eggs and create a new hive.

When a bee becomes old enough to fly, they fly a figure 8 pattern in front of the hive. This creates a mental map of the hive and its surroundings. Once this is completed, bees can fly many miles away and return to the exact spot of their hive every time!

Closeup of bees in honeycomb

The process

I collect honey once a year during the early summer, the only time of year that offers an abundance of honey beyond what is needed for the bees. On average, I collect about 150 pounds of honey per hive. During harvest time, I begin with collecting my honey boxes by hand from the apiaries. Then the honey frames are pulled from the boxes and placed in a centrifuge which spins out the honey into a large tank.

 

Raw honey 101

I collect raw honey, meaning my honey comes straight from the hive. It’s strained to remove wax particles and then bottled. The honey is never filtered or heated. Regular honey or honey that is not labeled raw has been pasteurized—a process that destroys the yeast found in the honey. It also has been filtered which removes beneficial nutrients like pollen, enzymes, and antioxidants.

Whenever possible, I always recommend buying local raw honey. If you cannot buy local raw honey, make sure to read the label since some honey is adulterated with corn syrup. Your honey should not have an ingredient label!

Beekeeper Damon Roy scraping a honeycomb

Partnering with Shake Shack

My decision to partner with Shake Shack was based on supporting a company that plays a significant role in our community. Shake Shack supports local businesses that produce fresh local products, like my honey, and helps build communities from within.

A Shake Shack Hot Honey Chicken sandwich held with two hands

Can’t wait to try Damon’s honey? Grab the Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich, Hot Honey Bites, and Hot Honey Fries, at Shack for a limited time! To skip the wait and for contact-free payment and pick-up, order ahead on our Shack App and online.

 

 

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