Frequently Asked Questions...
- I was wondering if your honey comes from flowers, trees, etc. that have been sprayed or is your honey from unsprayed areas?
We can assure you that no beekeeper would intentionally place beehives in an area that is sprayed and they try to keep their hives as far away as possible from these areas. However, it must be noted that bees are wild and will fly anywhere in a seven-kilometer radius of the hive. Most beekeepers do try to keep their hives and honey production as close to organic as possible, but sometimes it simply isn’t possible as it can be difficult to find an area without human activity within a seven-kilometer radius! Our Certified Organic Honey comes from hives placed in areas where there is no pesticide use within a seven-kilometer radius. This honey is also regularly tested to assure that there is no pesticide residues or environmental pollutants.
- Is your honey pure honey or does it have any additives, substitutes or fillers of any type?
All of our honey is 100% honey with the exception of our Cinnamon Flavoured Honey. That's just honey with cinnamon flavouring added. Simple as that. We do not add sugar or other fillers to our products, as we believe in keeping the honey as natural as possible.
- I have read that a lot of honey companies give their bees antibiotics. Are you able to tell me why they do this?
Beekeepers may give their bees antibiotics in order to prevent or cure disease. Unfortunately, bees get sick too. However, antibiotics are not given at times when the bees are producing honey. In Canada, antibiotic use is regulated for consumer protection and only antibiotics that break down quickly are allowed. If you are still concerned about this, we would suggest using our Certified Organic Honey.
- How does organic honey differ from regular honey?
For honey to be certified organic it must meet strict production standards. Hives need to be placed in areas where there is no pesticide use within a seven-kilometer radius. Honey is also regularly tested to assure that there is no pesticide residues or environmental pollutants. The bees cannot be given antibiotics. There are also strict rules for every aspect of honey production, including how the hives are painted and testing the water used to clean the equipment.
- Can you tell me if the regular unpasteurized honey is considered "raw?"
- Regular unpasteurized honey would not be considered "raw" as it has been minimally heated to remove any impurities. However we do have a few products that are, including Raw Creamed Honey (500g jar), Organic Creamed Honey (500g jar and 2kg pail), and Honeycomb (227g round).
- I have recently been reading articles regarding different honeys and how some companies are selling honey which when tested should not even be legally called honey, as it contains no pollen. Does all the honey you sell still contain the natural pollens and nutrients of the honey?
- We do endeavor to keep the natural pollens and nutrients as intact as possible in our products, however as brought out by the National Honey Board (USA) on their website (http://www.honey.com): "Honey is produced by honey bees from the nectar of plants, not pollen. Pollen occurs only incidentally in honey. The amount of pollen in honey is miniscule and not enough to impact the nutrient value of honey." In recent years, there have been some reports of ultra-filtered honey coming from offshore (e.g. China). We DO NOT use any offshore honey in our products.
- Where does your honey come from?
Our honey comes from mainly BC and Alberta, as well as occasionally from Washington State. We DO NOT use any offshore honey.
- Is your honey organic, unheated and unfiltered?
Only our Certified Organic Creamed Honey is organic. Our Organic Creamed honey and our Raw Creamed Honey are both unfiltered. Both of these products are minimally heated in order to extract the honey from the frames and pack into jars. Our liquid honey requires slightly more heating and filtering to liquefy it as well as to bring it up to government standards. Of course, the ultimate in unheated and unfiltered honey is our Honeycomb.
- Why is the creamed honey sometimes hard?
In the winter, we find that the granules of the creamed honey bind much tighter and this creates the very hard honey that you are experiencing. If you place the tub in a warm area, it should soften but do not heat the honey too much for it will liquefy.
- Do you add corn syrup to your honey products? Do you feed your bees corn syrup? What do you feed your bees?
We do not add any kind of sweetener, including corn syrup, to our honey products. Our beekeepers usually use liquid sugar over the winter to keep the bees alive. It is not common to use corn syrup. There are various kinds of corn syrup, some of which could actually harm the bees. Feeding of bees only occurs at times when there is no honey flow and in areas of the hive that are separate from the areas that produce honey.
- What type of sugar you feed your bees? How many month of the year do your bees rely on this food?
The purpose of feeding sugar to bees is for sustenance during times when there are no flowers blooming (late fall through early spring). The type of sugar varies depending on the beekeeper, with most generally using white sugar (mixed into water) or liquid sucrose.
- For your organic honey, are the bees fed organic sugar or conventional sugar when the bees overwinter?
According to the Canadian Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards - by which we and our suppliers are certified, section 184.108.40.206 says: Organic honey and pollen shall be the major foodstuff for adult bees, and maintained in adequate supplies in the colony, including leaving colonies, with reserves of honey and pollen sufficient for the colony to survive the dormancy period. a. The feeding of colonies can be undertaken to overcome temporary feed shortages owing to climatic or other exceptional circumstances. Feeding shall be carried out only between the last honey harvest and 15 days before the start of the next nectar or honeydew flow-period. b. In such cases, organically produced honey or sugars shall be used. Non-organic refined sugars may be used when the health of the colony cannot be maintained with the use of organically produced honey or sugars.
- What plant/flower does your honey come from?
Our regular honey is mostly Alfalfa/Clover. There can also be trace amounts of other flowers depending on where the bees were traveling. These may include such flowers as Thistles, Dandelions and other wildflowers. We do also carry specialty honeys as well.
- I am a sensitive celiac, who cannot tolerate even trace amounts of gluten (wheat, barley, oats, rye, spelt, etc - also contained in some artificial and natural flavouring). Are any of your products gluten free and suitable for celiacs?
Only two of our honeys (Cinnamon-flavored) have any added flavorings. While I would suggest that you would be cautious of these, we have received good reviews regarding our other varieties of honey from some of our customers who suffer from celiac disease.
- What does the term "Creamed Canada No 1 White" mean?
The term "Creamed Canada No 1 White" can only be used if is packed in a federal government inspected facility. 'No 1' refers to the grade of honey, while the term 'White' refers to the colour. Our creamed honey only contains pure Canadian honey. Creamed honey is made by churning liquid honey with a little granulated honey until it reaches the correct consistency, and then chilled. It is a natural process.
- What can I do when my liquid honey granulates?
We try to have our honey stay liquid as long as possible but being a natural product all honey will eventually granulate. When honey granulates it is still edible and can be liquefied by gently heating the honey, although some of our customers actually prefer it granulated! If the honey is in a plastic tub, placing it in a warmer place, such as in a sink of hot water can soften it. However, I would advise that once it is soft enough, move it into a glass jar and then you can apply more direct heat to it so as not to melt the plastic.
- Is your unpasteurized honey heated at all?
All honey needs to be gently heated so as to remove impurities (e.g. wax from the hive) and to pack it into retail containers. We believe that honey should not be overheated because doing so will affect the quality from a flavour and a nutritional point of view.
- Can you please tell me what are the maximum temperatures used in the processing of your Premium Fireweed with Clover and Alfalfa liquid honey?
The temperature can vary depending on batch, but traditionally we have tried to keep it under 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Heating for a short time at a slightly higher temperature is preferable to heating at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.
- Why does some honey have 'pure' on the label and others don't?
Some packers use the word 'Pure' as a descriptive word. We generally do not use this word, as the expectation is that honey should be pure in any event.
- I noticed you have an expiration date on your bottles but I thought honey could not spoil?
You are correct - honey does not expire, however grocery industry standards require us to put best before dates on our product.
- What is the best way to store honey?
It is best if liquid honey is stored in a sealed container at room temperature, not in the refrigerator as granulation is more likely to occur at cooler temperatures. Creamed honey is best stored in a cooler location to prevent it from liquefying.