When you purchase a jar of honey, how many of you actually stop and think about the work required to produce it? Not many of us. You will probably have a greater appreciation for honey if you realized that it is truly a delicacy and that behind every jar is a story of hard, laborious work – both by the bees and the beekeeper!
That is why I’m happy to announce that occasionally I will be spotlighting an extraordinary beekeeper who has had an impact on honey production around the globe.
Today I’m pleased to highlight a beekeeper who comes to us from the beautiful state of Colorado in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. His name is Brent Edelen. With such a rich first-hand knowledge of honey production, I took the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions. For instance, when you see an “organic” label on a honey jar, is it organic, or is it just a marketing ploy to justify the cost? Read on for the answer.
Why Did I Choose To Spotlight This Beekeeper?
For starters, beekeeping has been in his family for six generations! So Brent knows a thing or two about producing superior honey. And if that’s not enough, he is also passionate about teaching and educating others about honey and beekeeping.
Another fact that is quite impressive about Brent is that he doesn’t spare any effort, nor cut any corners, in his production of gourmet honey.
For instance, he has no problem packing up his bees and moving them when the weather is too cold. While we are vacationing in a sunny Carribean destination in the winter to get away from the cold weather, Brent is packing up his bees on a truck for the ride to New Mexico and California where it is warmer. These warmer locations also give the bees different blossoms to forage so they can produce such unique and complex honey profiles.
How Did He Get Started in the Beekeeping Business?
According to his website, Grampashoney, Brent’s great grandfather, Edward Haefeli, came to American as an emigrant. While crossing the Rockies he found the climate helped his tuberculosis immensely, so he settled in the San Luis Valley and started farming.
Edward had experience in Switzerland with honey bees, so he started a few colonies to help pollinate his crops. At the end of the first honey season, Edward was thrilled that the bees had produced so much honey. In fact, it was more than his family could even use.
So he traded and sold honey to neighbors and friends. It wasn’t long before beekeeping was occupying most of his time. Thus the first “commercial” beekeeper of the family came to be.
Today, Brent has about 500 beehives, and he wonders how the previous beekeepers in his family managed such large numbers of hives. He says, “Times change and as we all know now, bigger isn’t always better. I am able to watch over the bees and produce several rare raw honeys, and in honor of my great grandpa, we call them Grampa’s Gourmet.”
What I Love About Grampa’s Gourmet Honey
Brent’s honey has gained the reputation of being one of the finest honeys produced in the Colorado/New Mexico region. I’m not surprised because I sampled his honey and let me tell you, it is absolutely delicious!
I sampled the Acacia Honey, Clover Honey, Chamiso Honey (one I never had before), White Honey, and Wildflower Honey. All unique, yummy and superior. I love that the honey is the best medicinally because it is raw and unprocessed.
Two Facts People Should Know About Honey
Question: Is There Such A Thing As True “Organic” Honey?
Brent Answers: As with most marketing, the term “organic” has become an advertising football kicked around from company to company.
There are no less that 200 organic certification companies that, for a price, will certify your product “organic” and promise to do so within your means of production.
In the U.S. the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is the only official organic certification, and in order to meet the criteria, the bees must be 100% chemical free, and the forage must be 100% chemical free. Bees can fly up to three miles (sometimes farther) in all directions, covering up to 9-12 square miles (5760-7680 acres). Not impossible but very difficult to assure that this kind of acreage is 100% organic.
Question: Is There A Way To Test Honey For Authenticity?
Brent Answers: There are a lot of tests for honey; they all cost money. There is no simple, easy test you can do at home. Your best bet is to know what it takes to produce honey and seek out your local beekeeper.
If you know they actually have bees and are not just buying and selling it, that is a good start.
If you’d like to purchase honey and other bee products such as pollen and honeycomb, visit his website.
How many of you pay more to purchase organic honey? Will Brent’s answer change the way you purchase honey?