Danielle is a girl with a dream, a truck, and a passion for bees. Here's the story of the woman behind The Honey Truck.
It all began with a cup of tea.
Danielle Brooks loves drinking tea, especially with honey. One day, while she sat sipping a cuppa, she thought how awesome it would be to have her own hive to harvest honey from. She started researching bees and how to keep them. After checking out every book in the library on the subject, she decided to jump in with both feet.
"Bringing the bees home was like an adoption. Once we got our ducks in a row, I got on a list to get a beehive, and we waited. You could only prepare so much and then wait for the call that your beehive was in.”
In April of 2016 she got her first beehive. A hive was ready for a new home right up the road in Jacksonville, Florida. “I drove up to Jacksonville and they literally just put the beehive in my trunk and I drove home with them,” Danielle said.
Later that year she and her husband Rich were visiting North Carolina and saw a small mom and pop honey shop selling local honey. She knew something like that in St. Augustine had the potential to be great. But since bees only produce honey once a year in the spring, many companies outsource honey from other areas not local to keep up with the year round demand. Danielle was not interested in outsourcing honey. She wanted the people of St. Augustine to experience the flavor of the local flora and not have to question where it came from. But where to sell it?
"Without a brick-and-mortar shop, I would have the flexibility to sell when and where I wanted -- selling only local honey, locally."
Struck with inspiration, Danielle began looking for the perfect business partner -- and found it in a vintage truck that she now sells honey from at events and pop-ups all over St. Augustine.
Danielle now maintains 8 hives and counting within 7 miles of her home. She is an active member of the St. Johns County Beekeepers Association. And, she's working her way through the University of Florida’s Master Craftsman Beekeeper Program and currently holds the title of Advanced Beekeeper.
About the truck
Danielle may be the hands and feet of the company, but the real star of the show is her cherry red 1963 Ford Econoline truck. She lovingly named it Kennedy as a historical nod to President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. Danielle and her husband Rich found Kennedy on Craigslist. It’s been an adventure ever since.
“I realize now how crazy it was to buy a vehicle that I had no idea how to drive!”
After months of vehicle breakdowns, stall outs, and practice, Danielle is now a whiz at driving the 3-on-the-tree manual truck. Everything on the honey truck has meaning, even down to the license plate. The license plate on the truck is an original 1963 tag that was issued in St. Johns County. Back in the day the first number of the plate represented the size of the county in which the vehicle was registered. In 1963 St. Johns County was the 20th largest county in Florida.
“I absolutely love driving my truck. It's a resurrected piece of history that gets a second chance on life in the Oldest City.”