John Kallas, circa 1940s
By 1955, Kallas Honey Farm had almost 1,000 hives scattered across Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Washington counties. When demand for the honey increased, Kallas had to start buying honey from other local producers in order to fill their own orders. In the early '70s, the family decided to abandon beekeeping completely in order to concentrate on the processing, packaging, marketing, and distribution of their honey.
Kallas Honey Farm began in 1941 when John Kallas developed an interest in bee keeping while helping a neighbor in Fox Point, Wisconsin tend to his hobby hive. As payment for Kallas' efforts, the neighbor gave him a hive. In only a few years, Kallas had close to 100 hives and a small processing operation. He enlisted his sons James and Gerald to help him sell the family's honey through door-to-door sales calls, farmers' market, and county fairs. Later, James and his dad expanded the business by tapping into the retail market, first negotiating with tiny mom-and-pop grocers, then pairing up with bigger supermarkets.
J. Perry Kallas (Left) and Peter Kallas (Right), the current co-owner operators of Kallas Honey Farm.
James Kallas, circa 1980s
Kallas Honey Farm is now steered by the third generation of Kallas men: James' sons Perry, who is in charge of operations, and Peter, who is currently in charge of sales and distribution. Kallas Honey Farm packages approximately 2 million pounds of honey a year. They work from a 30,000-square-foot facility on Douglas Avenue in Milwaukee that houses the farm's administrative offices, as well as the storage and packaging areas.
Kallas Honey Farm receives honey from producers all over the country, but mostly from the Midwest. It arrives at the facility in bulk as a raw, naturally crystallized solid, and is immediately placed in long-term storage.
Our customers ask us to handle the honey as gently as we can, so rather than pasteurize or cook it, we simply heat the honey to help it move through the plant. Rather than add filtering agents to make the honey clear like most major honey packers, Kallas allows the honey to pass through membranes that catch fine sediments. That is how we are able to label it unfiltered and uncooked.
The largest percentage of Kallas honey goes to supplying commercial food manufacturers, restaurants, and bakeries. In addition to honey, consumers can purchase other Kallas products such as pure or 20% maple syrup, maple sugar, honey mustard, honey barbecue sauce, comb honey, honey stix, whipped honey spread, dried bee pollen, pure beeswax, and granola.
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