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Hey all,

I'm getting in to beekeeping pretty soon. I'm still setting up the area where the hives will be. I've been lurking for some time now on the forum seeing what people do and trying to get a feel for the business.

I see a lot of talk of different honey qualities, light, dark and in between. I also see a lot of talk of buyers wanting one type or another. How is honey quality determined? How does it affect the price of honey? Why do buyers want only one type of honey as opposed to saying that honey is honey, aren't they going to filter and process it anyways?

Why is white honey more sought after than other (presumably) more flavorful darker types?

If I have things wrong don't be shy to set me straight. I'm learning.

Jamie
 

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When talking about the "quality" of honey, one needs to keep in mind the definition varies depending on who is doing the talking.
The big packers are most interested in color because they want to stock the shelves with a generic product typical of what they think the consumer expects. There is more dark honey than light produced and white honey is needed to lighten all the dark honey available, so white brings a premium price. They also don't like the strong distinctive flavors of some honey, so the milder flavored honey is preferred over the varietals, with the exception of some that might pack a small amount of varietal honeys.

A growing number of consumers, on the other hand, have a preference to one flavor or another, but it is surprising how many times I hear that our clover honey "tastes more like honey" than our orange honey or our fall honey. We usually have 5 or 6 different flavors and it is enlightening to those who have never tasted anything but super market honey. Taste is in the eyes...er...taste buds of the beholder.
Sheri
 

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Maybe you should buy some honey from different floral sources and find out for your self. Sheri might have some basswood, if she will part with it. Taste a good basswood, a watered down basswood, a clean clover, real wildflower(goldenrod/aster), some burned sunflower/soybean/cotton. Taste all of the above before processing, and then after. Taste some honey made in all new equipment, with no mite treatments. Chew on a piece of honeycomb that is new, then on a piece that has been in the brood chamber before.

Be prepared to pay for the real stuff, if you want average, go to the store.

Roland
Linden Apiary
 

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>Why do buyers want only one type of honey . . .
The buying public (not beekeepers) has been "conditioned" to buy honey of a certain color and taste. The "providers" (commercial buyers) of this honey, blend honeys of different colors (and taste) to achieve their "retail product". Thus all store-bought honey looks and tastes the same.

Fresh honey, like anything "just out of the garden", has its own taste. Beekeepers say its better, while some "buying public" prefer the "standard".


>Why is white honey more sought after . . .
The natural color of honey is influenced by nectar source (and other things). Colorless honey is very rare. "Store-bought" color is very common. And darker honey is somewhat common. Commercial producers mix the light and dark to obtain desired color.
 

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Roland;477477 Be prepared to pay for the real stuff said:
That's for sure! People need to be educated about just how big a diff there is in the quality of honey and how to appreciate how good an artisanal varietal honey can be. Linden is a fine example for sure.
 

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Usually we produce light amber to amber which is pretty good. I think light amber is just one below white?

Although I do have a bunch of green dark honey right now that taste pretty nasty, it's from salt ceder trees they are blooming right now and I have some good spots were the bees are having a good fall flow from them. It's good for getting them through winter and we also mix it with the majority of our alfalfa/melon/citrus honey and it doesn't make a difference. It's extremely nasty tasting by itself and it tastes like sweet salt/dirt, I dunno it's hard to describe untill you've tasted it.
 

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Taste a good basswood, a watered down basswood,}}}}

adding water makes mead:}:}
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Usually we produce light amber to amber which is pretty good. I think light amber is just one below white?

Although I do have a bunch of green dark honey right now that taste pretty nasty, it's from salt ceder trees they are blooming right now and I have some good spots were the bees are having a good fall flow from them. It's good for getting them through winter and we also mix it with the majority of our alfalfa/melon/citrus honey and it doesn't make a difference. It's extremely nasty tasting by itself and it tastes like sweet salt/dirt, I dunno it's hard to describe untill you've tasted it.
I'd save it for the bees as natural feed if it tastes like garbage.
 

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J-bees - My "watered down basswood" was meant to indicated watered down with clover, not as strong. Since Basswood can have a short period of bloom, if you do not make the rounds at the right time, it will get mixed with clover, and hence "watered down". My intentions was for the man to taste "straight" basswood.

Roland
Linden Apiary
 

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A growing number of consumers, on the other hand, have a preference to one flavor or another, ...... We usually have 5 or 6 different flavors and it is enlightening to those who have never tasted anything but super market honey. Taste is in the eyes...er...taste buds of the beholder.
This year I had a celebratory event where we brought in 6 or 7 types of honey, one being Tupalo, another being Sourwood, and another being Locust I didn't have Basswood. These honeys ranged from dark to very light.

Each time, we tasted the honey, we commented on the flavor differences and picked our favorites. Until we had the tasting party, I never knew of the different flavors of Honey or that Honey came in different colors.
 
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