What’s the Price of Cheap Honey?

This is an excellent introduction to the fraud that is being perpetrated on the American consumer. The documentaries she mentions are all excellent. It is sad that dedicated local and national beekeepers are having their market crushed by shoddy and unscrupulous imports.

Germany is the highest consumers of honey per capita in the world and culturally they are serious about honey. This is why they are at the forefront of testing for adulterations and shenanigans of honey. Why can’t we protect our food supply, especially where honey is concerned? Beekeepers are just to nice, perhaps we should learn from our bees who are now in winter mode and bee-nasty!

Married with Bees

People love to ask questions when they find out that we started keeping bees.  One of the most common questions is, “When will you start selling honey?”  That question is usually followed by the comment, “Local honey is really expensive.  You can make a lot of money.”  In our part of the Midwest, local honey sells for anywhere between $8 and $12 for a 1 pound bottle, and those prices are typically set by hobby beekeepers who sell mostly at places like farmers markets.  If you read my previous blog post, you will know that hobby beekeepers aren’t getting rich on their honey.  The question that people should be asking is, “Why is the grocery store honey so cheap?”  The answer to that question will probably shock you.  

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R.I.P. Sue Hubbell

R.I.P.

Sue Hubbel

1935 – 13 October 2018

Author & Beekeeper

Sue-Hubbell

 

Sue Hubbel,  wrote the two books that inspired me to get into beekeeping.   “A Country Year” re-lit my childhood interested in bees, and the “A Book of Bees” gave me bee-fever.  Her book  “A Country Year” is up there with “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle and “We Took to the Woods” by Louise Dickinson Rich for exploring a new beginning in an alien culture and marks her journey from heartbreak back to a self-sufficient person.

I re-read both books on my summer vacation in the Wilds of Maine, which was the perfect place to explore some of the questions she asks about nature and people.  I walked the roads and edge of the lake looking for the various flora an fauna that s native to where I was.  It was perfect and reminded me of where the growth of my wanting to keep bees came from.

Hubbel’s choices in running a business with true husbandry inspire me. Her choices to simplify and standardize her equipment, and thinking about the what she has time for and having to prep for her busy harvest times showed real grit. I so admire her always showing measured care of her bees, but not coddling a laying-worker hive (i.e., no time for dither, shake out, combine hive resources, and bye!).

I mourn the loss of Sue Hubbell’s voice and wish there were more books ob beekeeping.  I wonder who she read, her reading list would be fascinating to me.  She passed away in Bar Harbour, Maine, I wished I’d know that she was there.  I would have loved to have met her.  I will have to settle for listening to her voice through her books.  Her wry humor will be missed.