Where does your honey come from?
All our honey is produced locally by our own bees in apiaries across Hampshire and Berkshire. Occasionally we do pollination contracts where we have honey as a delicious by product of our bee’s hard work.
Why has the honey I've purchased crystallized?
Natural honey in its simplest description is over saturated sugar water. This means it contains far more sugar than the water can hold making it an 'unstable' solution. The crystallization process is actually a great indicator that your honey is a natural product that hasn't been adulterated.
In most honeys the two main sugars that make up the composition is fructose and glucose with the exact percentages differing according to nectar source. It is the glucose in honey that causes crystallization due to its lower solubility, it separates from the water in honey and forms tiny crystals that spread over time.
If you have more glucose in your honey then it will set faster than if you have a higher percentage of fructose. It is a wondrous process that is a pleasure to observe for each honey! If you want to melt it back to a runny consistency then just place the jar in warm water to gently dissipate the crystals.
What do you mean by ‘unblended’?
Many honey producers operate on a much larger scale than us and tend to fill barrels for resale instead of storing in buckets and jarring under their own label. Barrels usually have capacity for ¼ tonne of honey, so you can imagine how many frames need to be extracted to fill just one barrel! This means that many big honey producers mix all of their harvest together and it becomes one homogenous product.
Each apiary has a unique combination of forage which changes throughout the season as the flowers bloom and produce nectar. This means that honey from each apiary will have a different taste, texture and colour and we endeavour to protect these characteristics by keeping our honey unblended. This is done by extracting seasonally (end of spring, midsummer and late summer) or when nectar flow of a particular flower slows. We also ensure that we extract by apiary then storing in 30lb buckets labelled accordingly.
Why don’t you pasteurise your honey?
The method of pasteurising requires you to bring your honey up to 65 degrees though methods do vary with some opting to briefly take honey to even 77 degrees. The idea behind this is to kill any bacteria in the honey, in the process it also extends shelf life as well as keeps honey runny.
The heating process however destroys a lot of the natural enzymes that gives honey so many special health benefits and therefore we opt to not pasteurize our honey at all.
Our honey is warmed only to allow jarring.
Why do you coarse filter as opposed to fine filter your honey?
Coarse filtering allows us to retain as much of the natural goodness contained in honey. We want the product to closely resemble the product straight from the hive, and we find that using a fine filter unnecessarily removes naturally present pollen particles.
Is eating local honey good for hay fever?
This is a rather contentious issue, though we have many local customers that have joyfully reported to us that our local honey has alleviated their hay fever symptoms. The theory behind local honey helping with hay fever is the idea that by consuming a teaspoon a day you expose yourself in small quantities to pollen that you're allergic to and consequently building an immunity.
Hay fever is a broad term to describe an allergy to pollen but not specific to the source. Sources include tree, grass and weed pollen through the spring, summer and autumn and even within these sources the varieties of flora and fauna are extremely diverse. These sources don't necessarily coincide with the sources of pollen that bees would be visiting however it is likely that there are traces of pollen that causes your hay fever allergy but perhaps not enough quantity to promote immunity.
Either way we think that having a teaspoon of honey each morning is a wonderful way to start the day and if it does do something for your hay fever that's a huge bonus!
Do you sell your honey in buckets?
Yes we do, we sell our honey in 30lb buckets, but as all natural honey crystallizes over time, you may have to slowly warm the bucket of honey in order to get it to a runny consistency. Please get in contact with us if you'd like a quote.