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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there a way to certify the source of your honey? I have been selling Sourwood honey and yesterday I had a customer tell me that mine is in no way Sourwood. This is upsetting since I spent so much time and money and was careful to catch the flow. I gave the customer a complete refund including shipping. I want my customers to be completely satisfied. Has anyone had this happen to them and how did you handle the situation? Is there a test to certify your honey?
 

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Yes, but can you afford it? You have to have the pollen analysed.

Don't over react to one customer. I know a guy who was selling NY honey in SC and a customer insisted that his NY honey was sourwood, which it wasn't. So he raised his price and sold it to him. You can't please everyone.

I have produced buckwheat honey from a field of buckwheat surrounded by nothing other than pine forest. Try telling someone used to wax melter buckwheat that what I had was buckwheat? Forget it.
 

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You can't let something like that get you down, and the truth is it's pretty likely that your honey has some other stuff in it besides sourwood - sumac is a good possibility around here. I tell people that I don't really know where my bees go when I'm not looking, but if they don't like the product I will refund their money. It's not a costly promise to make.
 

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Part of what happens is someone buys some honey labeled "xyz" when it's really just wildflower honey. Now they think that's what "xyz" honey tastes like. Yours doesn't taste like that so they think it can't be "xyz" honey. Most varietals have distinctive tastes, especially things like buckwheat and sourwood. Yes, most honeys probably do have more than one nectar source in them, but that distinct twang is usually what distinguished it.
 

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years ago I was selling some logs to a saw mill. the log buyer was insisting to pay me for ash. I told him it was basswood when I dropped the trees. he told me he was the profesonal log grader. I let him pay me the higher rate. kind of like ny sourwood honey. I have no idea if the furniture factory that ended up with it knew the difference.
 

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I see that this is your first post. Welcome.
I also see that you are located in middle GA.
Where do you have the hives that produce your sourwood honey?
 

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As a long time internet seller(not honey),always be aware that there are plenty of thieves out there. It is a common ploy for a buyer to claim the product is not as advertised so they can get a refund and thus have the product for free. It's just easier for the seller to refund rather than have a hassle. One tip off is that they will order again.I kept an idiot list and refused to sell the second time.
 

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As a REALTOR I frequently have prospective buyers or tenants who like to tell me everything that is wrong with a house and then offer to buy it for less than the price. I tell them they must not be very smart to want a house with all of those problems. Same with the honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Dan and thanks for everyone's comments!

I have hives in Butler, GA and I bring my hives to Young Harris about a mile behind the college for the Sourwood flow.
 

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I bring my hives to Young Harris about a mile behind the college for the Sourwood flow.
If you know Paul Arnold at Young Harris college, you might ask him to verify your honey. He's a bit of a guru for such things.
I have hives outside of Franklin NC for sourwood. At the onset of bloom I add supers with empty comb and at bloom's end remove them. During that period I never see bees working anything else or for that matter seen anything else blooming for them to work. Having said that, I'm sure it isn't 100% sourwood but it is as close as anyone can get. I have had sourwood aficionados tell me that they can taste 'something' else in it. I've had others insist that it was the finest sourwood they'd tasted. Go figure.
 

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If certifying your honey is important to you and your customers, try finding a university near you that offers courses in palynology. Contact them and see if they can do a pollen analysis of your honey. I have heard Texas A&M, for example, can do this service for about $50 per sample. I understand they can provide a certified report of the pollen content.
 

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As is usually the case with beekeeping, nothing is clear cut or straightforward. I have read if at least 51% of the pollen in honey is from a certain source, you could claim the honey is that variety. But I have also read where some types of pollen are consistently under represented in the honey. The article below has more information than you probably ever wanted to know on the subject. As far as sourwood honey goes, I had one person declare to me that some honey he had was "pure" sourwood -- he said he could tell by the taste. When I tasted it, it had such a strong licorice flavor I thought it was nearly inedible. It's all in the eye of the "bee-holder" I guess.


http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/honeybee/extension/Honey%20Show%20and%20Judging/Bryant%20%20Jones%20(2001)%20The%20R-Values%20of%20Honey%20-%20Coefficients.pdf
 
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