In the face of numerous obstacles, the members of the Crofut family pursue their shared passion — the wildly popular Good Flow Honey Company.
The beloved honey, now on the shelves of grocers all over Austin, started out as just a school project for founders Tom and Judy Crofut for their former employer, Greenbriar School.
“The school closed,” Judy Crofut said. “So, there we were with the beehives and the honey. So, we started selling the honey.”
With their children Daniel and Jennifer in tow, Good Flow began. Their product quickly became a mainstay in the diet of locally-minded Austinites such as Andre Davis, an employee of Wheatsville Co-op, one of Austin’s licensed sellers of Good Flow, who believes their honey is one of the best in Austin.
“Their honey tends to be sweeter,” Davis said. “It’s more of like a creamy sweetness with vanilla undertones, it’s not as molasses-y as some of those other ones.”
Once people began to take to their blend of honey, Good Flow began selling juice as well. Placing their personal spin of pure, unprocessed goods on juices helped Good Flow thrive, reaching more customers than ever.
“The juice really took off,” Crofut said. “We got a location on east Cesar Chavez in 1980.”
Then, in 2008, FDA restrictions on the juicing process forced Good Flow Juice and Honey Co. to shutter a significant part of their company.
Though they did initially attempted to work with the government, Crofut said the endless bureaucracy and even typos in official documents consistently blocked their path. Many local buyers still lament this loss, including Davis.
“I loved it. It was way better than the things they on the market have now,” Davis said. “Their orange juice was just the best.”
These days, the Good Flow warehouse is mostly empty. Though they initially bought the space for their juicing business, it’s now being solely used for honey storage, it occupies about half of the space and has an odd, somewhat creepy feeling. However, Crofut said the empty space will not go to waste. She intends to eventually reopen Good Flow’s juicing business. They are attempting to revisit working with the FDA to approve a process which properly pasteurizes the juice, while retaining Good Flow’s standards of raw purity.
“We can still make fresh citrus juice because you can apply the bacteria killer to the outside of citrus, and then squeeze them and make the juice fresh,” she said. “We’re hoping to get in time for when the Texas crop comes in for the fall, but you never know.”
Even after all of these highs and lows, the Crofuts remain passionate about their business. This passion extends to even their children, who now work with the company. Their daughter Jennifer helps out in the office, doing computer work and labeling. She said she’s passionate about supporting the company’s presence in the city.
“My favorite part is watching the product go out,” Jennifer Crofut said. “It’s perfectly hand-done, and we take great pride in it.”