What began as a beekeeping hobby in 2003 for Claire Marin, a former magazine publisher, became a business in 2010. “You never know where life will take you,” says Marin, founder of Catskill Provisions. She started with raw, unpasteurized, wildflower honey from the Catskills, and now also offers chocolate truffles, honey-infused whiskey, maple syrup, pancake mix, and even ketchup. The New York Honey Whiskey is a collaboration with Finger Lakes Distilling: 80-proof New York rye is aged in new American oak barrels for three years and infused with just enough late-summer honey to round out the edges. At Taste NY in Grand Central Terminal, Marin was sampling the strikingly delicious chocolate truffles—made with 72 percent dark chocolate, dark fall honey (no sugar), and local, organic butter and cream—as well as new whiskey-infused truffles, which have just enough whiskey to keep you this side of sober.
Catskill Provisions products are sold at some county stores, including Rye Country Store, Dobbs & Bishop in Bronxville, and several DeCicco’s locations, but go online for the full range, which includes packages such as a locavore mixologist gift set: honey, wand, maple syrup, muddler, shaker. The organic maple syrup, filtered 12 times through natural paper, has spun off into maple sugar spice rubs that double as cocktail rimmers, the round packaging encouraging the latter. Flavors include maple ancho chile and maple cinnamon.
Marin now oversees the buzzy business with more than 300 hives and 2,000 maple trees in the northwest Catskills. Her key to success? “Be present and see where it takes you.”