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keepitlow
03-11-2010, 10:18 AM
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/394198_honey31.asp

Medsen Fey
03-11-2010, 12:26 PM
The evidence just keeps piling up - there is no better way to get good honey than keeping bees yourself (I sure wish I could). Second to that you do much better buying directly from the source (the apiary) or through someone reputable like BeeFolks. When you get big chains between you and the honey, all bets are off.

MediaevalQuendi
03-11-2010, 02:50 PM
The evidence just keeps piling up - there is no better way to get good honey than keeping bees yourself (I sure wish I could). Second to that you do much better buying directly from the source (the apiary) or through someone reputable like BeeFolks. When you get big chains between you and the honey, all bets are off.

While I'm in total agreement, restrictions based on where you live can be a pain. :p Like, living in an apartment, for example; one of these days, just imagine a house, a yard, and....well, you get the picture.

I've been having a hard time as well trying to find local producers of honey to buy directly from, for the most part. I haven't been unhappy with the honies I have found, but none of them have been direct-from-source, yet. I'm getting perilously close to blowing a wad of money at BeeFolks, but that wouldn't be too bad, now would it? :)

In all seriousness, though, the articles points out a good few things: primarily, failure of the government in regulating...well, anything. The bloat of the government is such that it cannot accurately and effectively regulate any industry, let alone such a "small" one as honey production. While it should be ultimately the states who decide how and where to regulate the definition of honey, the industry would be far better served by a third-party organisation that sets and defines standards for honey, determined by a set of knowledgeable experts. People that we can get behind, and would trust their suggestions almost implicitly. They would allow apiaries to go through an approval process, providing access to their own "seal of approval", or other such incentive. That way, buyers know that this is what it claims to be, and is guaranteed by a certain set of guidelines. I charge that would be far more effective than any government, state or, god forbid, federal, program. ;)

Ah, yes, well, unless that happens, Medsen's right: you can only truly trust those whom you buy direct from.

Medsen Fey
03-11-2010, 04:40 PM
While I'm in total agreement, restrictions based on where you live can be a pain. :p Like, living in an apartment, for example;

Hey, Urban Beekeeping (http://www.bees-online.com/CityRoof.htm) is making a come back (do a google search on it and see ). You can even do it on the roof of an apartment building. I have small children and we have Africanized bees in Florida so I'm not ready to jump in yet, but the young'uns won't be small forever. :)

akueck
03-11-2010, 05:05 PM
I don't buy the anti-government rant.

The government takes a minor role in the grading of honey. It's left entirely up to the industry.
Even within highly regulated industries (think "major" FDA type stuff like drugs or implants), the onus is still on the producer/manufacturer to provide accurate and honest information to the regulating boards. Without state-run industry (I assume this falls under "undesirable") there is only so much the government can do to ensure quality. Inspections of product, site visits, etc cannot always easily uncover some honey producer cutting product with corn syrup or labeling something "product of USA" that isn't, especially when that producer is actively trying to hide it. Or take the drug trial example: how do you know that the results of a clinical trial are unbiased? The government can set rules, but a business run by someone unscrupulous enough will find ways to bend them.

How do you fix it? The only way to change things in the American system (and really, any system) is to vote with your wallet. To get enough people to do that, there needs to be public education--which is what I think the main point of the article is. [Who is responsible for this education? That's another topic. Take note, however, that government will take a lot of cues from industry when making decisions like "what is honey", so even with more federal or state oversight there is no guarantee that the rules will not directly benefit a few major players over many smaller ones: see meat grading rules for an example.] Know what you're buying, ask questions, and don't buy anything which doesn't provide answers. Are a significant number of people going to do that? IMO, no, but maybe I'm just over-cynical. It does have to start somewhere though...

Angelic Alchemist
03-11-2010, 05:44 PM
Hey, Urban Beekeeping (http://www.bees-online.com/CityRoof.htm) is making a come back (do a google search on it and see ). You can even do it on the roof of an apartment building. I have small children and we have Africanized bees in Florida so I'm not ready to jump in yet, but the young'uns won't be small forever. :)

I've been dreaming about a way to make a window box hive for my second story condo. Until then, I'll keep bumming off Kerry and slinging his honey at the Ren Fests.

wildoates
03-11-2010, 11:26 PM
Had an exchange with someone t'other day that putting in one hive wasn't much use because you don't get that much honey from one hive (not necessarily true) and that why bother anyway as honey's cheap (not even close to being true). I guess if you only eat a pound a year on your toast, that might be a big deal, but we use a LOT of honey making mead.

Although, I am still on my self-imposed honey purchasing moratorium so I can go to Norway this summer. Poor me!

andrewschwab
03-12-2010, 12:42 AM
Other sources of honey are local bee clubs.
The folks in the club are usually small producers, but high quality.
See if there is state bee assc... From there it should lead you to local bee clubs, hopefully:p Get more then 1 name.
Spend some time talk them take a look at there bees etc..

Just a thought for more honey sources;D

MediaevalQuendi
03-12-2010, 02:54 AM
I don't buy the anti-government rant.

Even within highly regulated industries (think "major" FDA type stuff like drugs or implants), the onus is still on the producer/manufacturer to provide accurate and honest information to the regulating boards.

Well, first off, I came off badly, because it wasn't that the Government shouldn't do anything, but that sweeping Federal regulations/oversight boards are ineffective at best, destructive at worst. The major problem is that with the regulation in government, large corporations can influence regulations and laws to favour them over small producers. With an independent, private organisation, the small apiaries and large conglomerates are treated equally.

The point is that for regulation to be effective, you cannot merely request honest information, you have to test the product, etc. Government cannot do this efficiently. Now, like I said, I'm not against State governments attempting this kind of oversight, and some will be better at it than others. But time and time again, we see private industries do a better, more efficient job than others.

The industry itself cannot regulate in a free-market sense if there is major government intervention. I don't know enough about honey-related issues, so I can't comment beyond conjecture. :) Which is fortunate, I'm sure. But with drugs and food, meeting FDA/USDA standards is no representation of the quality or appropriateness of the product itself; it merely provides a false sense of security for consumers. When you see some of the wide definitions, or the inability to enforce regulations, the cost of even having those definitions and regulations at the federal level is prohibitive.

But, now we're in the territory of politics, and not mead and honey, which is where we should be. I will shut up about the political side for now, noting that my humble opinion is that government-level regulations and taxes are inhibiting cost-effective honies from being produced. :p

I agree with Medsen, as I have a young daughter; beekeeping is out of the question for now. Though, I have a mortal fear of bees regardless....it would be fun to overcome that, just for mazing. ;)

jdw03n
03-12-2010, 02:02 PM
Other sources of honey are local bee clubs.
The folks in the club are usually small producers, but high quality.
See if there is state bee assc... From there it should lead you to local bee clubs, hopefully:p Get more then 1 name.
Spend some time talk them take a look at there bees etc..

Just a thought for more honey sources;D

I tried this around here. Wrote to the president of the beekeeper's association. They put my info out on the listserv. I heard from ... noone.

Hard to get the local hobby honey folks to hook up with the local meadmaking folks. Fortunately, my LHBS is extraordinarily mead friendly and is making efforts to identify sources for various high quality varietal honeys.

I was sorely disappointed with the lack of input from the locals - I was looking forward to making a product with local honey and local fruits/veg.

andrewschwab
03-12-2010, 11:30 PM
Speaking from both ends, mead maker and beekeeper.
You will have to go to the beekeeper. Or go to one of the club meetings.
I don't look at list serves for people wanting honey it is to much work.
But I will always spend the time with people if they contact me :p

dr9
03-13-2010, 01:58 AM
Contrary to that article, the Kroger brand clover honey is the only one (of about 6) that I have had on the kitchen counter for several months that has actually crystalized on it's own. The other 'local' brands, one from the former prez of the state bee people, another from "some guy" in N. GA, they are all happy liquids. Only the cheap Kroger Clover honey exhibits signs of being actual honey.

I don't mean to say the article is all wrong, I agree with it 99.9%, based on my own observation. But I think, in my own experience, the kitchier the label, the shittier the honey.

akueck
03-13-2010, 03:05 AM
Crystallization is not a sign of "true" honey. Some honeys (ies?) are more prone to crystallize, others less. Storage temperature plays a big role, as does moisture content. Moisture content can vary as the honey ages (you open and close the container, etc) so even a honey that might start out liquid could become prone to crystallization over time.

fatbloke
03-13-2010, 04:16 AM
-----%<-----
Some honeys (ies?) are more prone to crystallize,
-----%<-----

Hum? yes. It's oil seed rape that's a PITA here.

A good cash crop for a lot of the local farmers but a pain for the beekeepers as it often crystalises in the comb and is a bugger to extract........

Hey ho!

regards

fatbloke

andrewschwab
03-14-2010, 02:39 AM
Hum? yes. It's oil seed rape that's a PITA here.

A good cash crop for a lot of the local farmers but a pain for the beekeepers as it often crystalises in the comb and is a bugger to extract........

that stuff is a bugger, will set up in the pipes hours after extraction. :eek:

ok kidding, maybe 1/2 day ;D

beeboy
03-18-2010, 09:33 PM
I'm always having problems with Palmetto, Palm mix honey which is my main midsummer crop here in Florida. It is a thinner honey that crystalizes easily but doesn't have a lot of sweetness to it. Finding raw honey if you are not a bee keeper can be tough. Even with four hives that produce about 45 gallons per year I am always turning away buyers. It is hard to explain to someone interested in 5-10 gallons that I can't give a bulk discount because I'll loose money when compared to selling honey in 2 lb containers. When I've talked to local hobby bee keepers most of them say that they never have enough honey to go around. This indicates that there is a huge market for local raw honey. I think Florida is ahead of the curve on regulating the purity of honey sold in the state. They have just passed a bill making it illegal to market anything except pure honey when the container is labled "honey". There is talk of using the Florida honey regulations as a guideline for a uniform honey code to be used by other states. One of the biggest problems that I see for a "hobby" beekeeper who wants to market his honey is that the extraction and bottling needs to be done in a certified food processing kitchen. Just the cost of setting up a kitchen can be prohibitive to a small timer and you need to have the facility inspected and certified every year.

andrewschwab
03-19-2010, 12:32 AM
One of the biggest problems that I see for a "hobby" beekeeper who wants to market his honey is that the extraction and bottling needs to be done in a certified food processing kitchen. Just the cost of setting up a kitchen can be prohibitive to a small timer and you need to have the facility inspected and certified every year.

this is true. In the state of OR at least if you produce under a certain amount you don't have to comply with all that. Back door sales kind of thing. ;D
This is what I am, your back door man :p i couldn't help it, sorry.

I too get the same response for folks wanting to buy larger amounts, there is no discount. After someone sees (helps) the work that goes into extraction alone they can't believe I don't charge more. hmmm maybe I should.