The buzz: Dodd picks Esparto beekeeper as Small Business of the Year
ESPARTO — With seed money left to him by his grandmother 47 years ago, John Foster bought 200 beehives and began producing honey on his Esparto farm. The one-man operation grew and, today, Foster owns 35,000 hives and employs 60 workers. In recognition of his success, Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, named Foster and his company, B-Z Bee Pollination, the Yolo County Small Business of the Year.
“John proves the idea that hard work and persistence pays off,” Sen. Dodd said. “Not only has he created a thriving business but he’s helping the environment by ensuring the preservation of bees and their essential role in plant pollination. I’m happy to recognize him for his achievement.”
“I am humbled and honored to receive this award,” Foster said. “Beekeeping is a labor of love. It helps put food on the table and we pollinate a lot of crops. Without bees the human race would not survive. Every third mouthful of food we eat is due to bee pollination. In addition, it pollinates a lot of wildflowers to produce food for wildlife.”
Foster grew up working alongside his dad, who was a Yolo County beekeeper. He started his own business in 1975, buying his first bees from a beekeeper in Ashland, Ore. At first he produced honey but soon realized local farmers needed his services to pollinate their crops. As crop production grew, so did his business. He incorporated B-Z Bee Pollination in 1998. Now, he raises bee packages, including queen bees to ship throughout the United States and Canada.
Foster is grateful for his wife, Michelle, and their four children for helping him achieve success. His son Sam will take over the business, becoming a third-generation California beekeeper.
Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. Find more at www.senate.ca.gov/dodd.
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