What is Raw?
Our honey is pure, raw, and unfiltered. It is never pasteurized or heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, to preserve the enzymes and nutritional benefits inherent in raw honey, and is bottled directly from the first extraction. Raw honey is defined by the National Honey Board as “honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat”. The live enzyme content in raw honey is the highest of nearly all foods! Its primary enzyme is amylase, which assists in the pre-digestion of starchy foods. Raw honey is alkaline-forming in the body, and is naturally high in antioxidants. It is also antimicrobial, as its high sugar content and acidic pH (between 3 and 4.5) inhibit bacterial growth.
Heating honey above 118 degrees makes it clearer and runnier, like supermarket honey, but degrades its natural health benefits. We use as little heat as possible when we warm our honey slightly to allow it to flow for bottling, and it is always stored in stainless steel bottling tanks. Everything we sell is bottled in glass, to preserve its purity. Our honey spends little to no time in contact with plastic of any kind, ensuring that no chemicals or hormones leach from the container.
What is Unfiltered?
Unfiltered honey is bottled directly from the extractor. It can appear cloudier, and can contain pieces of bee pollen, honeycomb, propolis, or other bee fragments. All of these are not only safe to eat, but contain beneficial nutrients. Their presence confirms the unprocessed nature of our honey.
What happens when honey crystallizes?
Crystallized honey is a completely natural process. Because raw honey is not pasteurized, it will granulate and crystallize within a few months. Granulated honey appears lighter in color than its liquid counterpart, and is perfectly fine to eat as is. If you wish to restore it to a liquid state, submerge the sealed bottle in a pot of warmed water for several hours, stirring occasionally to help the granules dissolve.
Will my honey go bad?
No! Honey has an incredible shelf life---in fact, pots of honey have been found in several Egyptian tombs, in a perfectly preserved and unspoiled state. Stored correctly in a tightly sealed jar, it can keep almost indefinitely. The tight seal of the jar keeps out moisture, which is the biggest danger to honey and can cause it to ferment (which is fine, if mead is what you’re after! Fermented honey, or mead, is not harmful, but has an altered taste). Honey has an almost indefinite shelf life, provided the seal is kept intact.
Does honey help allergies?
Possibly! There is anecdotal evidence that eating local, raw honey daily can act almost like a vaccine in the face of the seasonal pollen that causes allergies. Though there have been no peer reviewed studies, many who have tried honey as a remedy indicate that it helps with allergy symptoms. Besides that, raw honey is excellent for a sore throat, and can help fight acid indigestion. A tablespoon of raw honey and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed into a cup of warm water can help soothe a sore throat, and as both honey and vinegar are antimicrobial, the combination assists in killing off any bad bacteria. Honey is also a natural cough reliever and suppressant. In fact, studies show that honey is as effective as a common cough suppressant sold as an over the counter medication.
Are we certified organic?
No. To be certified organic, the hive must be situated in a minimum of 16 square miles of organic plants, which is nearly impossible. Most organic honey on the market is sourced from areas that used to contain miles of rainforest: farmers in South America have discovered that beekeeping is a lucrative profession in areas where there has been pronounced rainforest devastation. Unfortunately, these wide-open swaths are nearly the only areas where there is enough space to certify organic plants, to the detriment of the biodiversity that existed there before.
Our honey is not organic, but there are two major differences in the way it is processed, compared to conventional honey. Our honey is produced locally in Lafayette, California and in the Gold Country, primarily Angel’s Camp and Murphys. We do not pollinate or send our bees to areas with agricultural areas or farms. The hives are situated in rural areas with no agriculture and very little human residue, ie runoff and pesticides. We also have hives in backyards and suburban areas.
The frames in our hives is wooden, with a 100% beeswax foundation. Typically, frames are made of plasticell, which is all plastic: both the frames and the foundation. Plastic can change the taste of honey and leach harmful chemicals into it. Our process is more labor intensive and expensive, but preserves the integrity of product taste and the wellness of the bees themselves.
How do we treat our hives?
We use Integrated Pest Management practices, or IPM, when dealing with bee illnesses or problems with the hives. We do our utmost to avoid treating the hives with medicine to help control mites or other natural issues. Unlike IPM, Medicine treats only surface issues, but not the underlying root cause. Synthetic medicine is a last resort, and if we do use any, it is certified organic. Typically though, we solve most problems through IPM, which uses the life cycles of bees or mites to take advantage of certain changes in population densities. By naturally altering the composition of the hive, or targeting an invasive mite population, we can effect a natural solution for various problems in the hive. Over time, IPM helps breed bees with a greater natural resistance to common bee ailments and illnesses, as they naturally adapt to the IPM practices. In the long run, support and usage of these practices can lead to a hardier and more sustainable bee population.
Why Bee Friendly Honey?