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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Elk Grove, CA
    Posts
    2,373

    Default Coulda sold some honey, Buster!

    So yesterday my daughter and I were at the Modesto (CA) Scottish Games and there were a couple of guys selling "local" honey there. Naturally we had to stop by and taste what they had (valley wildflower, mountain wildflower, clover, sage, cotton, orange blossom...mebbe one more), I mean, I make mead. I can't pass by honey without tasting it. Duh.

    Anyway, we asked these guys a few questions about their honey, did they gather it themselves, what did they mean by "local," etc. We didn't buy any, for two reasons: one they were talking about cold filtering once then bottling like it was a bad thing, and two, when we asked about amounts larger than the two pound glass jars they were offering for sale they said they didn't generally do that because shipping the glass jars was problematic (I can think of any number of ways to solve that problem, but oh, well).

    When I said that I was thinking more along the lines of a five gallon bucket they balked. That would be very expensive, they said. I know, I said, one of my last honey purchases was over a hundred dollars for a GALLON, and buying five gallons of great honey would definitely be more than possible for me. Not only did they not seem to be interested in selling me vast amounts of honey, they treated us like morons even though we'd told them that we made mead and actually knew a fairish bit about honey in general--we were evidently supposed to be surprised that cotton or sage tasted different from OB.

    Oh, well, their loss. I'd tell you the name of the company, but although the jars had labels that said "Celtic Gold," they had other jars with other, different but similar, names on them. I think the "Celtic Gold" was a nod to the Celtic nature of the Faire.

    The OB was good, very light, it would have made an almost clear trad. Someday I'll find someone semi-local who not only has fantastic minimally-processed honey, but they'll want to sell it to me in bulk.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    4,958

    Default

    Marshall's Farm in American Canyon is kind of local, and they sold me a gallon. Not cheap, but damn that was the best blackberry honey I've ever had. Their OB (in 2010) was almost water-white but still very aromatic. Worth a trip if you're heading in the Napa/Vallejo/Fairfield/Santa Rosa direction.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Wisconsin BEER Capitol USA
    Posts
    294

    Default

    I can relate. Its obviously best business to sell little bears of honey for a higher price. Often I think as mead makers the fact that we are educated to some degree about our honey. And then want to buy it in larger amounts for a better price can put off some people. Especially I think because our large amount is 60 lbs. I'm sure they would prefer to sell bears or 55 gallon drums.

  4. #4

    Default

    i can understand where they are coming from.
    i have had two people in the last 5 years who want bigger sizes than a 2lb jar.
    a 5 gal would be a special run and would probably sit there for 10 years before it got sold (and plastic containers are only rated for 4 years)
    its bad enough that most people buy 1lb jars. sometimes its hard to sell the 2lb jars.

    what i would recommend is to talk to them around harvest time and see if you can take your own drum and fill it straight out of the tank.

    edit: from a selling point of view, bigger the container the better. on 1lb and under the packing can cost more than the honey. customers dictate what sizes get sold.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    UK - South Coast.
    Posts
    3,632

    Default

    It's gonna be about the mark up isn't it.why sell the honey for, say $2 a pound in bulk, when you can sell the plastic bears for the equivalent of something like $3.50 and all you have to do is get the sales from an uneducated (about honey) group who will buy on the basis of novelty !

    At least my local people advertise from a half pound jar, to a 25kg bucket. And if he hasn't hot the size you want, can usually fill and label it there and then. If you're worried, they're only a phone call or email away.
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,394

    Default

    I'm lucky where I go, they have a bulk vat, and one time I went in there with my jars and they sent me to the processing plant next door and filled my 2 kg jars up to 3.5 lb for JAO's for me. But if you buy a bucket, the prices don't get better than the bulk price. <shrug> I'd figure a bulk price would be because now they don't have to pay for all the glass jars.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Elk Grove, CA
    Posts
    2,373

    Default

    I even have the 5 gallon bucket that I'd be glad to just have them fill with raw, unfiltered, fresh outta the hive honey.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,394

    Default

    My apiary sells 30 lb pails, or I could bring my own... I figure, if I'm going to be paying the same amount for the honey anyway, might as well get another pail for my $90 of honey. Those little guys are great for 1 and 2 litre batches.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  9. #9

    Default

    Wildoates,
    I live in Modesto and it sounds like I may run in to these same guys in my search for bulk honey locally...
    I can say that I have found an apiary in the Ceres area which sells bulk.
    I have a 4 gallon bucket that I bring to him. He fills it right from a 55 gal drum.
    So far he doesn't seem to mind doing this. I've only bothered him three times in the last four years.
    I've paid $120 for a full bucket of OB.
    If interested PM me. I'm not sure he'd want his contact info on a public forum.
    Perhaps we could work together on a bulk purchase.

  10. #10

    Default

    your lucky your honey is liquid enough to pour out of a drum. most of ours go solid very quickly, so you have to melt it out. same with the vats, you can't leave honey sitting in them for long.

    tho tomorrows little job is to extract the last few boxes of the season and pack the honey raw.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Elk Grove, CA
    Posts
    2,373

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JLindsey View Post
    Wildoates,
    I live in Modesto and it sounds like I may run in to these same guys in my search for bulk honey locally...
    I can say that I have found an apiary in the Ceres area which sells bulk.
    I have a 4 gallon bucket that I bring to him. He fills it right from a 55 gal drum.
    So far he doesn't seem to mind doing this. I've only bothered him three times in the last four years.
    I've paid $120 for a full bucket of OB.
    If interested PM me. I'm not sure he'd want his contact info on a public forum.
    Perhaps we could work together on a bulk purchase.
    I'll definitely be interested this Fall, after I get back from Europe and school starts. I'll only be making beer until then (for my niece's August wedding, for starters).

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