Lucky Bee Homestead is a small farm in Murray Harbour North owned and operated by Sabine & Michael Schoenknecht. They manufacture authentic German food like mustard, low sugar jam, glazed almonds, as well as bread and soups.
Michael and Sabine bought their “little piece of heaven” in early spring 2013 when they moved to the Island. They both grew up in families where the tradition was to grow and preserve food for winter. They were making jams, pickles, sauerkraut and canned all vegetables coming from their garden. “There is nothing better than to open a glass of jam or veggies in the middle of winter - bringing the summer back into the house!” Sabine explains: “I didn't really like my job as a cashier and I wanted to provide some healthy food for the people.” They started on a part-time basis 3 years ago but have been operating it on a full-time basis for the past 2 years.
“We use as many natural or organic ingredients in our products as possible, we treat our animals and our land with respect, and being sustainable and green is our top priority.”
Cooking was always a big part of Sabine’s life. She is a trained chef and hospitality specialist who worked in many different high-end restaurants, hotels and cruise ships. She also a degree as a hotel & restaurant business economist. Michael joined her passion and is now the creative part of their little enterprise.
Covid-19 has affected the business in a big way. “Our main work is to travel to different shows and promote our mustard off Island - people need to try the difference to pay the higher price for it. So not be able to do that, it is difficult to promote that side of business and sell the product. We are starting again making bread, soups and other comfort food to gain revenue and maybe not be forced to use any government help. This situation taught me again, I was a big believer in that before, that we have to focus on buy local and not be dependent on foreign companies. Everybody should have a little garden to provide them self with some food - or know how to cook and bake.”
They sold soup during the first year of business, and recently reintroduced them to their product line. The business has shifted more focus towards social media. It already had an online shop established prior to COVID-19 pandemic, so it was more of a matter of adjusting to offer more items for delivery locally and re-introducing items that they used to sell as a means of increasing revenues. The business has seen a significant increase in local sales and the local community has been very supportive They are offering delivery for orders over $30 from Summerside to Montague. Delivery will be on Saturdays.
When asked what their biggest challenges related to the pandemic have been Sabine said “The health regulations (which are necessary), the pricing of the products, getting into stores on and off the Island. Hard work and education - networking.”
And when asked about successes she shared “Within a year we managed to get into 20 shops off-Island and several on the Island which are mostly seasonal. We’ve been in the news last year in Nova Scotia, and we were featured in several magazines like Saltscapes and Salty. Success is also the smile on the face of people who try our mustard and other products.”
Lucky Bee Homestead
Sabine & Michael Schoenknecht