An 11-year old Texas girl has signed a deal with Whole Foods to sell her lemonade — developed from her great-grandmother’s 1940 recipe — in four southern states.
After appearing on the hit ABC business investor show Shark Tank, Austin, Texas sixth grader Mikaila Ulmer gained $60,000 for her BeeSweet Lemonade company, which is saving honeybees and quenching thirsts in her home town.
The deal will place her home-style lemonade, “Me & The Bees,” on the shelves of more than 55 Whole Foods stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
“I work on the business after school, after I do my homework, and on weekends and during spring breaks,” Mikaila said in an interview with NBCBLK. “There are not too many times when I feel stressed.”
When she was four years old, the young entrepreneur had a bad encounter with honey bees.
She revealed in her interview with NBCBLK that two bees stung her in the same week. This encounter inspired her to use honey instead of sugar as the main ingredient in her lemonade.
“I didn’t enjoy the bee stings at all. They scared me. But then something strange happened. I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem. So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s recipe?
That’s how BeeSweet Lemonade was born. It comes from my Great Granny Helen’s flaxseed recipe and my new love for bees. So that’s why we sweeten it with local honey. And today my little idea continues to grow. “
Ulmer knowingly made this move to save the dwindling bumble bee population, because bees are essential in food and plant pollination.
According to a 2013 report by Yale, the world’s bee population is quickly disappearing due to rampant global warming and climate change. For instance, in 2013, many U.S. beekeepers experienced losses up to 40 to 50 percent, and in some cases more. This record-setting event happened just as commercial bee operations were ramping up and preparing to transport their hives for the country’s largest pollinator event: the fertilizing of California’s almond trees. Bees pollinate
almost one-third of American foods.
In a 2016 assessment from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, bees and butterfly populations are decreasing primarily because of the increased use of pesticides. In fact, more than 80 scientists conclude that pesticides — among the many man-made problems such as global warming — are causing the mass pollinator to die-off.
Ulmer’s product will help solve this growing problem. She has donated small portions of her profits to various organizations that will help bring back the bees and stop the extreme rate of die-offs.
The dollar amount of the young entrepreneur’s deal with Whole Foods has not been disclosed, but if sales are high, “Me & The Bees” lemonade will hit more stores nationwide.
In the meantime, the young chef will be featured at today’s 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll.