Business Spotlight: KNEAD Bakery & Cafe
Welcome to our new Business Spotlight blog series! We’ll be using this space to highlight some of the amazing businesses, big and small, that have adopted a honeybee hive with us. At Honeybee Heroes, we’re big believers in supporting local and family-run businesses. All of the businesses we talk about here are South African businesses who are working in their communities to make the world a better place, and we can’t wait to introduce you to them.
When brothers Ryan and Evan Faull decided to start a small bakery in Cape Town’s Wembley Square in 2006, they had no idea just how big it would grow. In 15 years, Knead Bakery has opened over a dozen bakeries in Cape Town and its surrounds, and even a few in Johannesburg. Soon after the first branch opened, the Faull brothers welcomed a new partner to the team, Mark Wildish, and the three of them have worked hard together to build Knead into a recognisable name across the country, beloved by its customers for its artisanal breads (amongst many other delicious things!), freshly made with ingredients that are GMO-free, unbleached, and as local and natural as they come.
There’s a reason Knead’s bread tastes like it’s made with love. That’s because it is. Ryan and Evan grew up in a cooking home, with both parents in the food industry, and since its doors opened for the very first time, Knead has used old family recipes that have been passed down generation by generation in the Faull family.
“We’re a family-run business,” Ryan says, “and that legacy is in everything we do.”
Just before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Knead team was operating 17 cafés around the country, all using those same recipes that made it famous. (Want to try some of those recipes at home? Check out our blog on honey-infused Knead Bakery recipes here!) But they’ve since brought those numbers backdown to 8, closing stores that they didn’t expect to survive the lockdown.
“It was uncertain times, and you want to be able to control as much as you can,” Ryan explains. The closures included all of their Johannesburg branches, because provincial travel regulations made it difficult to get necessities across the borders.But Knead Bakery has weathered the storm. “We’ve still got our heads above water,” he says.
Ryan and our founder Chris became friends in early 2017. When Chris started up Honeybee Heroes in 2020, Ryan was one of the first people he chatted to about the idea. “We had a conversation about the honeybees and this initiative he wanted to start, where he would create apiaries to help the bees and sell local honey to help fund it,” says Ryan. “Food is something I love, and so is the outdoors, so I was keen to get involved straight away.”
Ryan adopted one of our very first hives and since then, Knead Bakery has adopted several hives, and many of the Faull’s family, friends, and customers have adopted as well. Knead also stocks exclusively Honeybee Heroes honey, which they use in their recipes, and they’ve created specialty honey products, like their honey crunch biscuit, honey cinnamon rolls, and honey granola. You can also buy our honey over the counter at their cafés.
Ryan says that Honeybee Heroes honey adds a little something special to every dish they make at Knead. “The Honeybee Heroes fynbos honey is so unique. It’s a lighter, more balanced honey, and it’s not too sweet. It kind of reminds me of Rooibos, in that it’s unique to the area and you can tell when you taste it that it’s from here.”
Ryan has been an outspoken advocate for our organisation from the beginning, and for that, we’re really grateful. “As a company, supporting Honeybee Heroes has been our little way of giving back,” Ryan says. “It aligns so much with what we believe, which is supporting local all the way, and educating people about why that’s so important. Like in regards to honey, a lot of people are purchasing fake foreign honey, which allows more to keep coming into our market, while our local beekeepers are sourcing this amazing single-source honey right here at home.”
The good news, says Ryan, is that people are starting to pay more attention to where they source their food products. “What we’re seeing in South Africa—and the whole world—is that we’re going from the fast food, unhealthy, unethically-produced foods to people being more conscious about what they’re eating. They want to know who they are supporting with their dollars, how the food is made, how the animals were treated. It’s incredible to see that change.”
“I think by supporting an initiative like Honeybee Heroes, we can start helping people make those right decisions. We really can get to a point where we eradicate that fake honey from our markets,” Ryan hopes.
Ryan is a frequent visitor of Willowdale Farm, and he’s been to several of our beekeeping courses, bringing friends and family with him to spend some time with our resident bees.
“Capetonians love to be outdoors, we love to be trail running and hiking and biking and on the wine farms, but to have an experience like this, so up close with these creatures, is incredibly unique. It isn’t something you’d easily find anywhere else,” he says.
“And for a company like us to be able to support an initiative like Honeybee Heroes and watch it grow, it’s very special.”
To Ryan and the whole team at Knead, thanks for supporting us from the very start. And to everyone else, check out Knead Bakery’s site to find your closest bakery!
Do you own or work at a business that might be interested in sponsoring a honeybee hive? Check out the Adopt a Hive tab on the menu above or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.