Ionel and Irina Alecu moved to Canada in 2002, just a few months before our market at Dufferin Grove opened. Their first Canadian jobs were working as the superintendents of an apartment building, but by 2005, Ionel was keeping hives in bee yards close to wildflower fields and conservation areas, and Bees Universe was born. In 2007, they left the city behind, moving their family to a farm in ‘the snowbelt’ near Innisfil.
Beekeepers face many challenges beyond stings: pesticides, bee mites, and competition from cheap imported honey have made it very hard to earn a livelihood, but ‘Honey Man John’ and Irina bring good cheer to the market year-round.
They sell honey, honey comb, bee pollen, propolis (and tincture), fresh frozen royal jelly, beeswax candles and foodwraps –just about everything in the Bees Universe! In addition, they have an on-farm egg grading station, and bring eggs from their free-range chickens and ducks to the market. Irina is always ready to give you a taste of delicious honey, and when John is at the table, he can also sharpen your knives.