Company: Busy Bee Organics
Founder: Michelle Berckes
Founded in: May 2014
Based in: Jersey City, NJ
Link to website: https://busybeeorganics.com/
If you’re looking for some healthy meal options in the Garden State, one natural food chef is here to help.
Michelle Berckes founded Busy Bee Organics in 2014. The meal-delivery company and organic cafe boasts “peace of mind” munchies with nutrient-dense ingredients to help you power through your day.
Berckes says that she founded the company to help bring delicious, healthy options to her hometown, specifically targeting the ‘busy bees’ of Jersey City.
“When I moved here, there was really only one health-supportive place in the neighborhood. It was time for more,” she said. “I empathized with people who didn’t know what they were doing in a kitchen. Nutrition is so dang confusing. I built my business model to explain what healthy food is and the property of food that helps to build your immune system up.”
Her company started as a one-day experience at a local Jersey Farmer’s Market. After buzzing with positive feedback, it morphed into a meal delivery service. Six years later, Busy Bee Organics had a staff of 14 and serviced Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken and Union City.
Then, in August of 2019, Berckes chased her biggest dream and opened up a brick and mortar organic cafe at 451 Palisade Ave.
“Everything here, including our desserts, even people with Diabetes can eat. It’s all the right types of food to fuel your body and make you feel good,” Berckes said.
But on March 17, the cozy storefront, which had just been open for six months, was forced to temporarily close its doors due to COVID-19.
Berckes says she worked closely with her lead chef, Chef Jackie, to keep the meal delivery options afloat.
“We restructured our system,” she said, citing the challenges her team faced when the pandemic was at its peak. “People were afraid to leave their houses. They were just really grateful that we were delivering groceries and healthy food options.”
In addition, she says that she worked to help feed the nearby hospital during the height of COVID-19 and provide nutritious meals to the front-line workers of Care Point Hospital in Hoboken.
“We were working 12-hour days and trying to get creative with menu options. We added a grocery section, added elderberry syrup and immune boost shops — anything to help bring peace of mind."
Slowly, in early June, the in-person shop began to reopen.
Now, as many others, Busy Bee Organics is resuming with a new normal. Michelle says that her team will limit the number of people coming in, disinfect tabletops, door knobs, and iPads, and continue its quest to help Jersey City find healthy food options.
Now, Berckes leaves this message of hope for her fellow Jersey City residents:
“The best thing to do right now is to realize you’re not alone. There were times that got really dark, but we are all in this together.”