Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Having been away from bee keeping for some 15+ years. I see some big changes and I see things that are still the same.

    One is what does one do with all the honey after extraction season? I'm not talking a big production outfit. I'm talking about the backyard beekeeper who has maybe 10 hives and a few hundred pounds of honey at seasons end. Are you the person at the local farmers market who has his table set-up weekend after weekend in the summer trying to sell jars of honey? Are you the guy who has cases of canning jars full of honey in the basement? Are you the family member who at every birthday and holiday brings jars of honey to pass out to everyone who then takes the jar home and puts it up in the cupboard next to last yearís jar that is still 2/3íds full? Honestly, honey is not as popular with the kids like PB & J is!

    One of the biggest changes I see is that everyone wants to trap swarms, make splits and nucs in order to sell them for the big $. Honey almost seems to be one of those waste by-products of bee keeping that nobody talks about. Fill the 60# cans and set them in the corner of the basement. You can figure out what to do with them later!
    I hope you can tell me Iím wrong, I hope Iím wrong, but in the meantime Iíll clear out a corner in the basement!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,742

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Marketing can easily become a problem. Some people really enjoy that aspect and others not at all. I have a good location for an honor stand and some repeat customers that I reserve a supply for. That works for 5 or 6 producing colonies but more than that and storage, reliquifying, marketing etc., does take some planning so that it does not become a drag on other aspects of family life.
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,012

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    So far, I have found it is easy to give 5 gal away but selling has not been as successful. I have not put much effort into it yet but have the same worrys.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Dade county, Mo.
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    A high quality problem to have. Get fat on honey, sell some, give away, feed new colonies...

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Let the bees keep it?

    Nancy

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,894

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Use it as payment instrument.
    For many things, people will take a jar of honey in exchange, I propose.
    My egg lady mentioned it to me.
    I wonder though if she'll sell me the 3 dozen egg for 1 lb of my raw, organic honey.
    Will ask soon
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    1,196

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    I'm a sideliner so I needed to find places to sell once I got to 20 producing hives. One of my best markets is a local church yard sale that happens once a month. Over time, I built up a very good customer base there.

    I could easily sell 60 lbs of honey per year at work, and in fact I know I'm well over that now just by word of mouth as people from different departments found out about my honey sales. It took some time to get the word out and I do very well and no extra time or cost of sitting at a market table. I give my co-workers a special price just for that reason.

    I recommend that you set a precedence right off--figure out a price before you start unless you do want to give honey away.
    I found it quite annoying when people thought I should give the honey to them for nothing because I got the honey "free". I'm prepared with an answer now that folks can come and "u-pick" your own honey for a 50% discount. No takers yet.
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 50 hives, TF

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    This comment wins the day!

    I found it quite annoying when people thought I should give the honey to them for nothing because I got the honey "free". I'm prepared with an answer now that folks can come and "u-pick" your own honey for a 50% discount. No takers yet.
    Roll on the floor funny!

    Nancy

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Quote Originally Posted by bevy's honeybees View Post
    I found it quite annoying when people thought I should give the honey to them for nothing because I got the honey "free". I'm prepared with an answer now that folks can come and "u-pick" your own honey for a 50% discount. No takers yet.
    Yes!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Best advice I've heard all day! Good for you!

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Keene, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Make mead!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Quote Originally Posted by VickyLynn View Post
    Make mead!
    Absolutely! What doesn't sell, you turn into booze. Booze sells (just don't let the Federales catch you selling it)...or drink it yourself and stop buying that second-hand Clydesdale water called Bud Light.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    North East Wyoming
    Posts
    540

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    I've been a hobbyist/sideliner for six years. I think my best year was just shy of 2,000#, finished extracting by mid October, sold out by end of February. I have never had problems getting rid of honey. My wife does all of the marketing and most of the sales, she also makes cinnamon honey butter, lotion and lotion bars, lip balm, pain rub, and other products. This year she's going to try selling propolis tinctures. I have always viewed honey as the worst byproduct of beekeeping because harvesting and extracting is what I consider "actual work". I have, however, never had a problem selling it. Marketing and customer relations are huge in my opinion, we have people that will not eat any honey but ours; will swear up and down all day long that our honey is far superior to any other beekeepers in the area regardless of my explanation that aside from different processing techniques it is literally the exact same honey as the beekeeper down the road.

    In all honesty, if it wasn't for my wife's entrepreneurial spirit I would still have 5 gal. buckets full of honey from my first year beekeeping stock piled in the basement.

    Prices:
    1# Squeeze Bottle - 8.00
    3# Quart Jar - 20.00
    1# Comb Honey - 10.00
    8oz Honey butter - 10.00
    3oz Lotion Rub - 8.00
    3oz Lotion Bar - 8.00
    Lip Balm - 3.00
    3oz Pain Rub - 20.00
    Propolis Tincture - 25.00

    Our prices are always lower than our competition too, usually by several dollars per pound.
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Keene, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Quote Originally Posted by Moon View Post
    I've been a hobbyist/sideliner for six years. I think my best year was just shy of 2,000#, finished extracting by mid October, sold out by end of February. I have never had problems getting rid of honey. My wife does all of the marketing and most of the sales, she also makes cinnamon honey butter, lotion and lotion bars, lip balm, pain rub, and other products. This year she's going to try selling propolis tinctures. I have always viewed honey as the worst byproduct of beekeeping because harvesting and extracting is what I consider "actual work". I have, however, never had a problem selling it. Marketing and customer relations are huge in my opinion, we have people that will not eat any honey but ours; will swear up and down all day long that our honey is far superior to any other beekeepers in the area regardless of my explanation that aside from different processing techniques it is literally the exact same honey as the beekeeper down the road.

    In all honesty, if it wasn't for my wife's entrepreneurial spirit I would still have 5 gal. buckets full of honey from my first year beekeeping stock piled in the basement.

    Prices:
    1# Squeeze Bottle - 8.00
    3# Quart Jar - 20.00
    1# Comb Honey - 10.00
    8oz Honey butter - 10.00
    3oz Lotion Rub - 8.00
    3oz Lotion Bar - 8.00
    Lip Balm - 3.00
    3oz Pain Rub - 20.00
    Propolis Tincture - 25.00

    Our prices are always lower than our competition too, usually by several dollars per pound.
    I think you should raise your prices, same as your competition's.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Milford, Michigan USA
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Rick, I have never “marketed” my honey however I do have customers all of whom having discovered that I keep bees asked if I would sell them honey. Friends pay $10 per qt, acquaintances $15 and family is free. I also give jars to my mail carrier and various service providers. Sellers at the local farmers markets have offered $150 for a 60lb pail. I am not keeping bees for profit and like you have more honey than I can personally use.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Belmont, Michigan
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Michigan Mike, I'm wondering with all the micro breweries going up these days, could a brewery use honey as a sweetener? The next question would be how much the average micro brewery would use for one batch of beer? Not being a micro brewer myself, I couldn't say if they'd use two 60# cans or ten per batch of beer. Still, a micro brewery might be a potential source for unloading some 60's.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,742

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    Pretty hard to compete with sugar simply on its sweetening or fermenting value. I dont think anyone would want to produce honey to be sold that cheap. When you get beyond what you can sell at "farm gate", (depending on labelling and production facility laws in your area), you have to jump through some troublesome hoops!

    Looking after and selling the yield from half a dozen hives is fun but more hives might make it into something that is not fun anymore. One beekeeper I am somewhat familiar with "farms out" his honey production and sales on a percentage basis and spends most of his time on queen and nuc production.
    Frank

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    1,485

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    I found it quite annoying when people thought I should give the honey to them for nothing because I got the honey "free". I'm prepared with an answer now that folks can come and "u-pick" your own honey for a 50% discount. No takers yet.

    I think the most annoying ones are the people that want the honey for smoked fish. I had a guy that BEGGED me to put 4 hives on his property for land use honey to smoke his fish (which turned out to be a joke for honey production, they put away just enough for winter). I went to pull them for the winter and “ well, how much honey am I going to get. Gallon, quarts?”. I almost started laughing out loud, bit my tongue, gave him a couple qts so we could stay friends.
    Rod

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    asheville, north carolina, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    I give some to family. My wife uses some for baking bread. I eat a lot of it. I have a few regular customers who take 2 or 3 quarts a piece each year. It sometimes takes a while to sell the last few qts. When I harvest the sourwood honey I keep 1 maybe 2 jars and do no advertising at all for it because it is the one variety of honey that I have more requests than supply. I call it a good year if I sell enough honey to pay for what supplies or queens that I bought that year. I am just a hobbyist. Some of my loyal customers have advertised for me successfully. However I think I will sell a couple of nucs next year if things look favorable.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    asheville, north carolina, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Age Old Question, What to Do with All this Honey!

    " I'm prepared with an answer now that folks can come and "u-pick" your own honey for a 50% discount. No takers yet."[/QUOTE]
    I love that comment too! Might be tempted to use it sometime hope that is okay.

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