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Ocean Friendly Restaurants Spotlight: Wild Honey Bistro

Nestled between the mountains and the sea in Homer, Alaska, Wild Honey Bistro is a cozy bakery committed to Alaskan flavors and eco-friendly practices. Owned and operated by the dynamic duo Melody and Scott Livingston, Wild Honey is well-loved for infusing locally foraged ingredients into traditional treats like crepes and croissants (made, of course, with world-famous Alaskan sourdough starter). The brand new Kenai Peninsula Surfrider Chapter sat down with Melody and Scott to talk more about what being the first Ocean Friendly Restaurant in Alaska means to them.

Wild Honey 3Wild Honey’s front door, weathered from the salt (downsides of being across the street from the ocean!)

Wild Honey 10The famous Alaskan sourdough croissants!

Can you share the story behind the founding of Wild Honey?

Melody: So, I started a creperie seven years ago, with the intent of being connected to my community and to the great food source that is Alaska. I wanted to create a platform where we could highlight foraged ingredients alongside more standard ones, and I thought crepes were a really good base for that. Then last year, Scott and I got married. I'll let you take it over from here.

Scott: I've been a home baker for years and have been getting more serious about bread and other baking over the last five years. I was working full-time in a corporate job remotely from Raleigh, Chicago, and eventually Alaska, and started doing some fun baking for the cafe at home. We had talked about expanding to a bakery and maybe having the time to do that in a couple of years. Then the circumstances of my job changed, and we said, "well, maybe this should happen now?" There's been a great community response, with a lot of people saying, "Hey, it'd be great, we need a bakery in town." So we said, "Let's go for it," and the response has been amazing. It's been a ton of fun. I'm a self-taught baker, so I'm learning as I go with it all. 

Wild Honey 7Sit outside for a crepe and a view!

Can you share any Alaska-specific ingredients or flavors that Wild Honey Bakery incorporates into its products? How do local ingredients contribute to the bakery's identity?

Melody: We do a weekly focaccia that's all about what is local or looking good in the markets, and that, of course, is going to gear up more and more as spring comes in. We just did one from locally grown wild mushrooms. 

Scott: Melody has always been really big into foraging, though it’s sometimes a limited window to have the ability to do that. The other thing to know about this bakery is that we use organic flours from small mills and barley grown in Alaska. And it's all naturally gluten-free.

Wild Honey 11Farmers market cherry tomatoes and roasted garlic focaccia

How does Wild Honey prioritize sustainability and the health of the oceans in its operations? 

Melody: I'm totally anti-plastic, and unfortunately, with a commercial operation, there's always far too much plastic. But one of the things that I refused to do is have things like plastic straws or plastic utensils. We do compostable to-go stuff, so that people leaving here and going and walking on the beach aren't going to be contributing to plastics in the ocean. We compost and work with local farmers for scrap buckets, so any food waste goes to pig farmers or chicken farmers. And we also recycle. Unfortunately, recycling is really limited here, but we recycle everything that we can.

Wild Honey 2We don’t recommend eating these ;)

What advice do you guys have for other bakeries and restaurants looking to be more eco-friendly, both in Alaska and beyond?

Melody: I think that it's so easily done. It's not hard to do the right thing. It definitely can be more expensive up-front, but we just put that as the cost of doing business instead of thinking, "I can get a plastic product cheaper, so I should do that." To me, it's about the quality of food, the quality of interpersonal interactions, but also the quality of life going forward.

Wild Honey 9An early morning visitor

What are your goals for the future of Wild Honey?

Scott: I think with the bakery being new, we're trying to try things out. So I'm really looking forward to developing the identity of Wild Honey and really sort of making it an “Alaskan bakery,” whatever that may mean. 

Melody: The other big goal that I have for this year: I've always been too busy running the cafe to really forage at the level that I want. And this year, I've reduced my days so that I have a day just to forage or to go meet with farmers and fishermen and integrate even more local products than we have before.

Wild HoneyHomer during the dark winter months

Lastly, on a more personal note, why is the ocean important to you? How does that affect the way you run your business and think about being sustainable?

Scott: As someone who grew up on the West Coast, you know, in and around Puget Sound, but spent the last 20 years of my life in the Midwest… I love the Midwest, but I really missed the ocean. There's something about living next to an ocean. It just– I feel like it ties you to the Earth more. The ocean is really what sustains all life on Earth, ultimately. And it's really amazing to be able to live close to it, and that everyone around us feels so close to it as well.

Melody: We grew up during a time when it was pretty pristine in the Puget Sound, and we watched the decline of nature and fish and fisheries there. Coming here to Alaska, it's this amazing wilderness, and I am committed to protecting it so that we have places on this planet where there's clean air and clean water and you can walk on the beach where sea life can thrive. So I think we have a responsibility here. We're lucky to not have to fix a problem. But we need to not be the problem.

Wild Honey 4Open even in the winter (and warm inside!)

Is your local restaurant Ocean Friendly?  If not, encourage them to sign up and join the movement to end single-use plastics!

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